Thursday, April 23, 2009

More on the Misplaced Monument ...


The Cortez Journal -- confronting what might be the biggest story to hit the area since the whackos with guns rampaged through town and disappeared into the wilderness 10 years ago -- has done some fine journalistic investigation into the case of the apparently misplaced Four Corners Monument. (Three-Point-Nine-Seven Corners M0nument ...?).

It seems the monument isn't really misplaced, it's more, like, just confused.
The boundaries of most Western states were created based on the Washington Meridian, not the Greenwich Meridian, which accounts for the 2.5 mile miscalculation made by geocachers who probably used the Greenwich Meridian. The United States began using the Old Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., as a surveyors starting point in 1850, but switched to using the Greenwhich Meridian - the world's Prime Meridian - in 1884, according to the Ordnance Survey, Great Britain's national mapping agency.

The Four Corners was designated based on an 1875 survey. Subsequent surveys have shown that the 1875 survey was about 1,800 feet - not 2.5 miles - off, Doyle said. Had the survey been accurate, the Four Corners would have been designated about 1,800 feet east of its current location. Even so, an 1,800-foot discrepancy was still fairly accurate considering the surveying equipment used in 1875.
All this surveying stuff is just all around confusing in general, the article concludes.

Information gathered by Senior Geologist Bill Case, of the Utah Geological Survey, found that the original Four Corners surveyor, Chandler Robbins, missed the mark in 1875 due to problems with early surveying techniques and rough terrain. Robbins' diary from the Utah Historical Quarterly stated, "The needle of the compass had lost its power, which I did not discover until we had entered upon the survey."

Low-powered telescopes, combined with having to use the solar system to survey, made accuracy difficult. And that didn't begin to describe the hassle with vegetation, mosquitoes and wide ranges of elevation, Case said.
Actually, the article is kinda fun and interesting. Check it out here.

I'll take that news over more stories about dipshits with firearms any day.
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