Along the way, we stopped at Athabasca Falls to finish our viewing from Friday that had been washed out by the rain. We learn so much geology every time we step out of the Prius - we'll have to take a course so we can have context for all the bits and pieces we've learned. We came back to the Falls because we wanted to look more closely at the channel below them. The channel is narrow and cut through closely packed sedimentary layers. The rock must be pretty hard, because over the years a large volume of water has cut a very well defined channel that shows few signs of erosive rounding or widening.
|Channel Below the Falls|
|Athabasca River Just Below Athabasca Falls|
Then it was down the road for 50 miles or so to the Athabasca Glacier. This is the glacier that flows down from the Columbia Icefields to about a mile from the highway. The Icefields, above and behind the glacier, are about 125 square miles of glacial ice as much as 1100 feet thick. 170 years ago, the glacier stretched down to the parking lot, but in receding has lost about 60% of its 1840s volume.
|Athabasca Glacier Seen From the Icefields Visitors Center|
|Looking across the Athabasca Glacier toward the Columbia Icefields|
Just to show we both were there
An unexpected delight were the views from our glacial bus stop of the Andromeda Glacier. That glacier has carved a huge cirque into its mountain.
|Mt. Athabasca from the Visitors Center|