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North America Natural Wonders
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The Drumheller Badlands
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The Drumheller Badlands
The Drumheller Badlands
Alberta, Canada
 
Earth's Natural Wonders in North America
Dinosaur Species Discovered: 150
Age of Red Deer Valley: 13,000 years
Notable features: badlands, hoodoos, canyons, coulee
Horseshoe Canyon[6]

 

 

Badlands near Drumheller. The scenery in this part of the country is truly astonishing.
 
The Drumheller Badlands are one of the few areas in the world where sedimentary layers from earlier geological periods have been scraped off by natural processes, exposing a rich deposit of animal and plant fossils and even complete dinosaur skeletons. No wonder the area the Drumheller Badlands canyons proved to be vast terrains of fossil discovery.
Badlands near Drumheller[6]
 


The torn and twisted landscape of the Drumheller Badlands stretches like a giant scar through the rolling farmlands of southern Alberta.It is a conglomeration of gulches, buttes, gulleys and canyons, all eroded from multi-colored layers of sandstone, mudstone, coal and shale that date back 70 million years. The impact of visiting this place can be overwhelming, as if one has been transported back in time to another era, or even another planet.[1]

The Badlands are an area located in Central Alberta, Canada. In fact, the so-called badlands extend along the Red Deer River Valley, east-southwards from the city of Red Deer, AB, through the small city of Drumheller, AB, to the Saskatchewan border.
Badland's heartland, however, is the Drumheller Valley in and around the city of Drumheller, approximately 130 km northeast of Calgary, AB. The Drumheller Valley, close to flat farmlands, is well known for its beautiful, diverse and moonscape-like topography. The rugged valley is made up of erosion formations, such as buttes and deep, twisted and winding canyons, coulees, and gullies. The almost bare walls thereof are made of multi-coloured – the hues changing with sunlight conditions – eroded sediment layers of sandstone or mudstone and coal, interlaced with shale layers. The steep slopes are strewn with roofed pillars and hoodoos. The hoodoos are natural yet transient vertical structures of soft sandstone, differing in height and shape detail, capped with darker and harder sandstone "hats". Formed by erosion, the hoodoos and pillars slowly appear and disappear in time. The concerted water and wind actions continuously "carve" them, change their shapes, and eventually destroy them one by one.[2] The exposed sedimentary rock layers along the Red Deer River Valley around Drumheller are referred to as the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Black layers are coal seams. Dark gray layers are mudstone. Lighter gray layers are sandstone. As these layers continue to erode, fragments of dinosaur bone, petrified wood and are other fossils are exposed. Some 25 species of dinosaurs have been discovered in these badlands since 1884 when Joseph Burr Tyrrell, the Museum's namesake, discovered the first Albertosaurus skull [4]

Hoodoos take millions of years to form and stand 5 to 7 metres tall. Each hoodoo is a sandstone pillar resting on a thick base of shale that is capped by a large stone. Hoodoos are very fragile and can erode completely if their capstone is dislodged (in other words, no climbing allowed). A hoodoo (also tent rock, fairy chimney, earth pyramid) is a tall thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos are composed of soft sedimentary rock and are topped by a piece of harder, less easily-eroded stone that protects the column from the elements.

They are mainly located in the desert in dry, hot areas. In common usage, the difference between hoodoos and pinnacles or spires is that hoodoos have a variable thickness often described as having a "totem pole-shaped body." A spire, on the other hand, has a smoother profile or uniform thickness that tapers from the ground upward.

Hoodoos range in size from that of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story building. Hoodoo shapes are affected by the erosional patterns of alternating hard and softer rock layers. Minerals deposited within different rock types cause hoodoos to have different colors throughout their height.[3]

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

The Royal Tyrrell Museum) is a popular Canadian tourist attraction and a leading centre of palaeontological research noted for its collection of more than 120,000 dinosaur fossils.

Located 6 kilometres (4 mi) from Drumheller, Alberta and 135 kilometres (84 mi) from Calgary, the museum is situated in the middle of the fossil-bearing strata of the Late Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation and also has recovered numerous specimens from Dinosaur Provincial Park and the Devil's Coulee Dinosaur Egg Historic Nest Site.

The museum is one of Canada's only institutions entirely dedicated to palaeontology, and is operated by Alberta's Ministry of Culture and Community Spirit. The museum's mission is to: "collect, conserve, research and interpret palaeontological history with special reference to Alberta’s fossil heritage".[5]

 

A short trip through the Bandlands region and Drumheller, Alberta, Canada - the dinosaur capital of North America.

 

camlproductions
September 14, 2008

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References
 
1. 1,001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die 2005-p. 32- Michael Bright-retrieved 6/22/2009
2. The Badlands, Alberta Canada-retrieved 7/17/2009
3. Wikipedia-Drumheller Badlands-retrieved 7/17/2009
4. The Applied History Research Group-Drumheller Badlands-retrieved 7/17/2009
5. Wikipedia- Royal Tyrrell Museum-retrieved-7/17/2009
 6. Flickr-Horseshoe Canyon- Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/17/2009
 
Wikipedia  text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

 

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