Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Katherine Fochesto

Katherine Fochesto
Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove was on of my favorite places that our group has visited
during our time in New Zealand. Cathedral Cove is located on the Pacific Ocean
in a marine reserve that is 9 square kilometers. I really enjoyed Cathedral Cove
because there was a hike on the way down to the beach that took 45 minutes.
The trail we hiked winded down a cliff through a forest with amazing views of
the ocean and the beach below. The walk down to the beach built up our
anticipation to see the shore and the beautiful clear blue water.
Once down at the beach, I was amazed at the rock formations around the
beach. The rocks, called tuff, were made up of ash. The sediment was fine,
white-gray in color and was made up mostly of fragments of tuff rock. The first
thing I noticed was the most obvious, the arch in the rock, on the right side.
The effects of weathering from waves hitting the tuff rock left an arch through
what was once a headland of the beach. When I walked through the arch to the
adjacent beach, I noticed a stack, which is called Tower Rock. It is now a
freestanding rock that broke away from the cliff next to it. At one time, it was
an arch like the one we walked through. Over time, the waves continue to
weather arches and they become stacks like Tower Rock.

Arches and stacks begin as caves, which were also at Cathedral Cove. A
bunch of us swam into two of the caves and it was amazing. Inside each cave
there is a little beach where we swam up and stood on the sand looking out at
the water. Waves begin to weather the rock around them into caves making
them larger and larger until they break through to the other side forming an
arch, and eventually a stack. It was so interesting to see a geological process in
three different stages in one beach. We got to visualize the effects of waves,
weather and long periods of time in one afternoon. There was also a rock
offshore in the middle of the water, which we were able to jump off. That was
really cool also because we were able to stand on the rock facing the beach and
see the whole beach from a different vantage point. Jumping off was very fun
also and I spent a lot of time climbing up to jump the 10-15 feet into the (very
cold) water. The tuff rock surrounding the beach also had what is called honeycomb
weathering. Honeycomb weathering got its name from the indentations it
creates on the rocks, a pattern that resembles a honeycomb. Grains of sand
being moved around on the rocks by wind and swirling around to create little
circular indents cause honeycomb weather. This was really interesting to see
because we were witnessing two different types of weathering: water and wind.
We saw the different formations and patterns the different kinds of weathering
left on the rocks.

While on the beach and climbing the rocks, we noticed a large amount of
limpets and barnacles. The barnacles were attached to rocks both in the water
and on the shore that were not yet covered with the incoming tide. There were
also cockle shells, black nerites, snails, seaweeds, stingrays, sea urchins and
macro algae. The high diversity of the marine life in this area explains why New
Zealand has made it a marine reserve. This was the first marine reserve we
visited so I found it really interesting to learn what that meant. A marine reserve
is a protected beach and coastal area. Visitors to the beach are not allowed to
take anything from the beach, living or nonliving, not even sand or shells.
Visitors are encouraged to "take only pictures and leave only footprints." Marine
reserves are enacted to preserve coastal areas and marine life in their natural
state and prevent disruption or destruction by human activity. Therefore, we
were able to swim and climb the rocks and enjoy our time at the beach but we
were not able to take any specimens with us as we left in order to respect the
environment at Cathedral Cove.
Overall, Cathedral Cove was a great place to spend the day. It was not only
beautiful to look at, but there were many biological and geological aspects to be
studied there. It was fascinating to see how waves cut away and shape the land,
changing its appearance over time. It was also interesting to see all the flora
and fauna in its natural, preserved state. Traveling down the cliff and walking
onto the beach was like entering a serene and protected area with amazing
things to discover and learn about.

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