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3.1. Creating an EarthCache

EarthCache Guidelines

The current Guidelines for creating EarthCaches can be found on the website here: EarthCache Guidelines

EarthCache Guidelines are also available in German, French, Swedish, Dutch, Afrikaans, and Polish.

These guidelines were updated on January 1st, 2013. All EarthCaches published prior to this date should be reviewed by the geocache owner and if necessary, edited to comply with current guidelines.

1. EarthCache Description

An EarthCache provides an Earth Science lesson through a visit to a unique geological site, and generally focuses on one aspect of the site. The description and tasks combine to teach the lesson and highlight what is unique or interesting about the location. The text should provide accurate, clear explanations of what visitors will experience at the site. The geocache page content should assume no prior knowledge of Geology, and be written at age 14 reading level. The logging tasks must relate to the specific geological lesson.

Common features such as rivers, mountains, meanders, streams will likely not be accepted unless the geocache page content indicates what is unique about that particular location, and provides an appropriate lesson.

Some geocachers use GPS devices with a limited amount of text. If your geocache page is long, you may want to place the logging requirements near the top. Be concise so that geocachers read the geocache page, rather than just skim it.

2. Acceptable Sciences

EarthCaches focus on the solid earth and the processes that shape it.


  • Geological materials - Rocks, minerals, fossils, sands, soils, etc.
  • Geological processes - erosion, weathering, deposition, volcanic activity, glacial action, etc.
  • Geological land form evolution - glacial valleys, reverse topography due to rock properties, waterfalls with geological explanations, use of geological materials - building stones, etc.
  • Geological phenomena (not included above) - impact craters, geysers, mineral springs, etc.
  • Tools used by geologists - index fossils, rocks, historical geology sites.

Not Acceptable:

Biology, Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Atmospheric observations, Oceanographic observations, Geodesy (unless specifically linked to the location), Archeology, History (unless it has a geological theme), a building (unless it has a geological lesson), Engineering (unless it has a geological theme).

Please note that the lists provided here are a guide and are not all-inclusive. Your EarthCache reviewer will address any concerns about a suitable choice of topic, location or lesson.

3. Permission

Landowner or land manager permission is required for most EarthCache locations.

It is important the land manager understands that your EarthCache may bring more people to the site. This will allow managers to plan for any challenges that might arise from the EarthCache publication. We want land owners/managers to be aware of the role EarthCaches can play in attracting visitors.

When providing the permission, post a Reviewer Note with the name, title, and contact information of the person who granted permission. You may also wish to include a copy of the email that they sent to you. All Reviewer Notes are auto-deleted before a geocache is published, but the information is available to Groundspeak staff and volunteers should the need arise in future.

Public lands are managed in different ways throughout the world; therefore, there are some instances where the land owner's/manager's permission is not required.  Your local EarthCache reviewer may be able to help determine if permission is required or not, but if you are certain that the location requires no permission, please explain this to the reviewer in a Reviewer Note on the geocache page.


Many thanks to Volunteer  geoawareCA  for initially developing these articles




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