A marble-ous journey

Zektonic - Geology

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Restés de marbre
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Hello, geologists! Near here is a marble quarry that’s unique in the Vendéen massif. How did it get here? Why? I don’t know, but I’m sure one of the Poï’z holds the key to the riddle!

Marble quarry car park N 46° 30.196' / W 000°32.882'.

Marble in all its forms (N46° 30.191' / W000° 32.881')

He we are at the gateway to the Ardin marble quarry, formed over 300 million years ago. Ardin stone is a hard and compact limestone, which can be polished. However, you can’t really call it a “true” marble…

Ah really? Why not?

True marble is “metamorphic” limestone. That means its structure has been transformed by a change of temperature and pressure. Ardin marble has not undergone any transformation, which makes it a real mystery. It is constituted by an accumulation of sediments, particles in suspension deposited in layers called “strata”.

The different colours of marble are due to the minerals in the rock. Among the three samples shown on the sign, what colour is the fragment from the Ardin marble quarry? Count the letters in this word then add 2.

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of A : A =_____

Take the path to the left at the entrance to the marble quarry.

Hydro-pothesis (N46°30.049' / W000° 32.731')

This quest for the truth looks exciting. Can I come with you, Zektonic? I really want to know where the marble quarry comes from!

It was hollowed out by a salt lake! In the area, people have found fossils of coral, fish and even trilobites! They’re those funny sea creatures that look like woodlice.

Interesting theory, but can it be proven? Let’s go and consult the books at the Great Library of Dilay Castle. We’re sure to find an explanation there.

Continue along the path. At the end of the path, turn right then right again onto the grassy trail at N 46°29.963' / W 000°32.600'.

The bocage (N46° 29.864' / W000° 32.767')

Zarthus, what are you doing? Dilay castle is nowhere near…

Sorry Zektonic, I was admiring the Gâtinais bocage. A splendid landscape, don’t you think? The hedges around these enclosed fields are home to many animals and plants. Since we set off, I’ve counted over ten great tits! They’re those small birds with a yellow belly, blue wings and a black head…

How many great tits did Zarthus see in the trees along the path? One of them has the answer on its trunk.

Write this number down. It is the equivalent of B : B =_____

Dilay castle (N46° 29.804' / W000° 32.948')

Hello, geocachers! Did you come to admire the castle? It was rebuilt in the 18th century and was the property of the Rochejaquelein family. Several officers of the Vendéens, the royalist party that was opposed to the Republicans after the French Revolution, came from this family.

All that’s very interesting, Zabeth, but we’re trying to solve the puzzle of the marble quarry.

There must be a rational explanation. I’ll go and consult the books in the library…

Which tree is found in the park to the left of the castle?
1- An old oak, with a twisted trunk and large head
2- A tall cedar, with its branches spreading horizontally
3- A sequoia, with a thick, red trunk
Note the number of the correct answer.

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of C : C =_____

The washhouse (N46° 29.673' / W000° 33.032')

I’m embarrassed. My books have no information about the Ardin marble quarry. On the other hand, you could ask Zouti! That Poï’z has a thorough knowledge of building materials.

He’s putting up the weather vane over there. Go and ask him. I’d rather stay cool in the fountain. In the old days, the washerwomen gathered here, a stone’s throw from the Sainte-Anne spring, which was said to have fertility-boosting properties… People also said that its water could help you find love! Interesting, isn’t it, Zektonic?

The washhouse has an unusual shape. Is it:
1- A hexagon (6 sides)
2- A heptagon (7 sides)
3- An octagon (8 sides)
Note the number of the correct answer

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of D : D =_____

The weather vane (N46° 29.712' / W000° 33.172')

The weather vane is up. Hi, friends! How did the marble deposit get there? That I do not know. But can I tell you how people made use of it as a quarry. It was in operation in the 18th and then the 19th century, until the 1950s. The marble was used to make paving and then later as a roadbed.

Which animal appears on the weather vane on the turret? Walk a little further along the road if you can’t see it. How many letters there are in this name, which begins with a G and ends with a T ? Now add 2.

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of E : E =_____

Take the second left onto impasse du bois Roquet. Follow the yellow signs then take the grassy path to the right. Turn right onto the road. At spot N 46°29.716' / W 000°33.329', turn left onto the path.

The trough (N46° 29.731' / W000° 33.383')

All that tells us nothing about the originz of Ardin marble…

Personally, I think the Romans brought it here when they came along the salt road. The ancient Saulniers way went above Dilay, connecting Saintes with Lyon. They may well have stored marble here!

Impossible, Zigomatix. Ardin stone looks nothing like Italian marble, which is metamorphic.

Approximately how long is the trough?
1- About 3 metres
2- About 11 metres
3- About 20 metres
Note the number of the correct answer.

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of F : F =_____

Go up the path. At N 46°29.761' / W 000°33.297',follow the yellow sign, turning right then left onto rue de la Noue Girard. At N 46°29.856' / W 000°33.268', turn right then immediately right again to follow the woodland path.

Mélusine (N46°29.917' / W000°33.168')

Hello, friends! I heard you wanted to solve the mysteries of the marble quarry? I have my own opinion about it, which won’t please a rationalist like Zektonic…

Tell us anyway, Zellé!

One night in winter, the hamlets all around were shivering in the cold. The Gâtine had fallen silent and the only sound in the distance was the gloomy hooting of the eagle owl. That night, as the countryside slept tight, a fabulous creature appeared in a field. It was Mélusine, the Poitevin fairy! They say she was a builder who carried stones in her big apron. The fairy used them to erect the most beautiful castles in our lands. But when Mélusine reached Ardin, her apron was empty! As she was short of raw materials, she decided to dig for big rocks in the ground, and the marble quarry was born.

According to Zellé, who dug the marble quarry? What is the first letter in her name? If A=1, B=2, C=3, what is this letter worth according to its place in the alphabet?

Write this number down. It is the equivalent of G : G =_____

Parthenaise cows (N46° 29.998' / W000° 33.110')

The local breed of cow is called the Parthenaise! It can be identified by its red coat, big horns and black rim around its eyes… Its milk is used to make AOP Charentes-Poitou butter, an ingredient in the “Galipotes d’Ardin”, the little biscuits that look like ghosts… Or feet, depending on which way round you look at them.

At the end of the path, turn right. Enter the marble quarry at N 46°30.195' / W 000°32.921' by opening the little door to your right. Remember to close it behind you.

The marble quarry (N46° 30.161' / W000° 32.914')

Welcome to my home, the marble quarry! I’ve been hibernating here for years and know this Sensitive Natural Area like my own back yard.

Zécolo, since you’re local, can you tell us how Ardin marble was formed?

Of course! This rock was formed millions of years ago, at a time when the planet was made up of three “super-continents”. At the end of the Carboniferous, Gondwana came into collision with Laurussia, at the precise location where the marble quarry is today. The sandstone and limestone that make it up come from marine and continental sediments, accumulated as these continents drifted and met each other.

In the Givetian, along with Gondwana and Laurussia, what was the third super-continent? Count the letters in this word.

Write this digit down. It is the equivalent of H : H =_____

The cache !

Thank you for coming with me, another mystery solved thanks to you!

« Attention geocaching friends ! No need to lift rocks, pick walls apart, or uproot plants... the cache is most likely there, right before your eyes! Remember that your quest must remain environmentally friendly ! Thank-you ! »

If your answers are all correct, the cache’s GPS coordinates will be green on the app. Click on “locate the cache” then let the app guide you!

Cache coordinates: N46° (B+G).16(E/F)' / W000° 32.(A+D)(H)(C-1)'
 The mystery word is written in the log book, inside the container

Well done, you have found the cache!
See you soon for more adventures!

Contact :

Office de Tourisme de Coulonges-sur-l'Autize
4 place du château
06 22 88 67 21

Terr'Aventurers' comments

26 jan 2022

Les bizes has found the cache


26 jan 2022

Sojuvalex has found the cache

Parfait pour decouvrir la gâtine...

26 jan 2022

A.J.L.U. has found the cache


26 jan 2022

Granck33 has found the cache


26 jan 2022

Kikilator has found the cache


25 jan 2022

sylvie paquerette has found the cache

découverte du bocage. beau marbre. mplc

25 jan 2022

sylvie paquerette has found the cache

découverte du bocage. mplc

23 jan 2022

benoitmassol@h… has found the cache

merci !!!!!!!

23 jan 2022

Blondine has found the cache

très belle balade !

23 jan 2022

Lilimrtn79 has found the cache