Cole Hollow - Central Illinois Ecocache

Brief Description:
Area of Glacial Deposits in Tazewell County
Park along the west side of the road at the top of the hill.
Latitude / Longitude
N 40° 36.773
W 089° 34.184
EcoCache ID:
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Submitting Group:
Kevin Emmons: Morton High School Teacher - Morton, IL
Date Submitted
Glacial Deposits in Tazewell County
Long Description

You are on the Shelbyville Moraine. Look to the south and southwest toward the Illinois River; you see the prominence of this moraine in and around Pekin. Across the river in a westerly direction you can see the prominence of Illinoisan drift that was deposited on top of bedrock in Bartonville. To the southeast, the hilly terrain is the LeRoy Moraine. As you face the north, the LeRoy Moraine is only a few hundred yards to your right. Near the church ahead on the left, you will be where the LeRoy Moraine merges with and overrides the Shelbyville Moraine.

The more productive soils are on the outwash plains between the moraines; the land there also has less slope. Moraines may be used to grow crops if slopes are moderate. Many of the homes in this area are owned by people who have invested in a few acres. Many of these people own horses and grow their own hay crops to feed them.

This site is a good vantage point for viewing both moraines and gently rolling land. When the first settlers arrived in this region, there were two contrasting types of climax vegetation: trees and prairie grass.

The soils of the flat to gently rolling terrain supported a grassland vegetation. Prairie grass thrived in this climate and grew to heights of 6 to 12 feet. For thousands of years grass above ground level was matted won by winter snows; in the spring, thunderstorms produced lightening that ignited grass fires. Fire is essential to a prairie because it breaks down the old growth and kills invading plants that would otherwise compete with the prairie grass. Unburned old growth and the ashes of the burned-over old growth became part of the soil. The soil became richer in humus each year. New growth thrived because the soil contained a wealth of nutrients and competing plants were kept under control. Today, the soils in this region are among the most productive soils in the entire world.

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