"The eastern foothills of the Rockies" Top 5 Page for this destination North America Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown

North America Things to Do: 160 reviews and 159 photos

  Me standing beside the dark crack in the left rock
by Bwana_Brown
 
  • Me standing beside the dark crack in the left rock - North America
      Me standing beside the dark crack in the left rock
    by Bwana_Brown
  • Hoodoos – carved by the elements - North America
      Hoodoos – carved by the elements
    by Bwana_Brown
 

As you leave the western mountains and head east, there are a number of places down through the interior of North America with interesting scenes. The Canadian Rockies end rather abruptly and you are soon out onto the flatlands of Alberta – in this case near the community of Okotoks, south of Calgary. The impressive 'Big Rock' stands alone in relatively flat countryside. It turns out that this estimated 16,500 tonne specimen is the largest glacial erratic in the world, dropped on this field 10,000 years ago when the glacier that carried it melted. For a size comparison, that is me standing on a broken off piece in front of the left portion of the rock. It began its life on a Rocky Mountain peak in present day Jasper National Park, but was dislodged by a massive landslide 18,000 years ago. The side of the mountain ended up atop a glacier that was flowing below, resulting in the landslide debris being slowly carried eastward as the glacier crept out of the mountains. Eventually, the glacier came up against a major obstacle when it ran into the Laurentides Ice Sheet that covered all of central North America, resulting in the glacier being deflected south, still carrying its load and dropping bits as it gradually melted.

Another scene that fascinated is the Hoodoos of the Red Deer River valley (2nd photo), north of Calgary at Drumheller. These amazing spectacles were carved out of the rocks through 10,000 years of erosion by wind and water. One minute you are driving across the prairies, and the next you descend into the Red Deer River valley to this landscape! A hard sandstone cap protects the softer minerals below as erosion continues to take place.

Directions: Alberta, Canada along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 8, 2007
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