Our second field trip of the 2007 season took us to the historic coal mining area around Cadomin, in the central front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta. Eleven members participated in what turned out to be an excellent weekend. Photos by Howard Allen.
Cadomin, Alberta
July 21 & 22, 2007
We started out Saturday morning where Prospect Creek enters the McLeod River,
south of Cadomin.
Our route followed the old CNR Cadomin-Mountain Park railroad, abandoned in the 1950s.
Some of the trestles are still in good shape, superficially...
...but a closer inspection suggests otherwise!
So now you know why Wayne makes us fill in those waivers.
A broken rail car wheel: evidence of some forgotten catastrophe?
Lots of wildflowers at this time of year! Mountain fireweed, Epilobium latifolium.
The McLeod River plunges over an exposure of Triassic rocks.
Seed heads of the yellow mountain avens, Dryas drummondii.
Exposure of the Mackenzie Dolomite Lentil, a recrystallized Triassic shell bed in the Sulphur Mtn Formation. Equivalent to the “Triassic Coquina” of the subsurface.
Close-up of the Mackenzie Dolomite. Lots of big, interconnected holes that could be filled with oil or gas: a petroleum geologist’s fantasy!
This small blue butterfly obligingly posed on a railroad tie.
Warning! Geology content: a shaly bed infills an irregular collapse surface created by solution of underlying evaporite minerals (anhydrite/gypsum)...
...the white line highlights the contact. Starlight Evaporite Member, Whitehorse Formation, Triassic. Nearby beds underlying this locality contain abundant fragmentary fish(?) bones.
Another small, unidentified but not unattractive butterfly.
This picturesque waterfall cascades over rocks of the Triassic
Starlight Evaporite Member.
Tall larkspur was abundant and spectacular. Delphinium glaucum.
Similar in colour, but much less common: monkshood, Aconitum delphinifolium.
Another small waterfall on the McLeod River. Triassic Sulphur Mountain Formation siltstones are exposed here.
More geology! Jurassic Nordegg Member cherts (upper right, brownish weathering) overlie pale, Whitehorse Formation (Triassic) siltstone and silty dolomite (left).
Aaron found this Jurassic ammonite while splitting shale on the riverbank. Fernie Formation, Poker Chip Shale or Red Deer Member, overlying the Nordegg Member.
Orange cup fungus adds colour to a rotting log.
Bluebells, aka tall lungwort.
Mertensia paniculata.
Common red paintbrush, Castilleja miniata.
Common pink wintergreen, Pyrola asarifolia.
The obligatory group photo. From left: Guy, Aaron, Geoff, Wayne, Pete, David G, Les, Christiaan (missing: Keith, Dave P and the photographer)
We made a side trip to visit the Mountain Park cemetery, which has been restored by volunteers. Geoff, Wayne, Pete and Keith at the cemetery parking lot.
Scenic view of the site of the former town of Mountain Park. A long-gone coal mining town, buildings once occupied the slope in the middle distance of the photo.
Day 2 began with a Sunday morning crossing of the McLeod River,
just south of the hamlet of Cadomin.
The Lower Cretaceous Gates and Gladstone formations (formerly Luscar Fm.)
appear in railroad cuts. The Gladstone contains abundant plant fossils.
This fine Ginkgo sp. leaf was found on a spoil pile next to the railroad bed.
Fern leaves, cf. Coniopteris brevifolia. Most of these fossils are illustrated in W.A. Bell (1956), Lower Cretaceous Floras of Western Canada, GSC Memoir 285.
Another fern frond, probably Cladophlebis sp.
Bighorn rams posed in front of a scenic backdrop next to the highway at Luscar as we returned home from another successful field trip.