Mount Yamnusca - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mount Yamnusca - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mount Yamnusca - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mount Yamnusca - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image
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Mount Yamnusca

Location: Canmore, TransCanada Highway at entrance to Eastern Slopes, AB, Canada

Vital Statistics:  Height: 2393 Metres (7,849 Feet) 

Formation Mechanism: Plate Tectonics

Topographic Map:  

Description: West of Calgary, the foothills rise more gradually than other area’s of the province. In fact, they almost seem absent, with the exception of a few rolling hills. This all changes as you approach the sheer, flat face of Mount Yamnuska. Even its name translates literally to “Flat Faced Mountain”. Although the name appears on most maps as Mount Laurie, it is more generally referred to as Yamnuska.

Visually, the mountain appears as a sheer, almost vertical face of limestone overlying a softer bed of shale. These sheer cliffs are part of the Eldon Formation limestones. They were formed approximately 535 million years ago during the Cambrian. By contrast, the underlying shales are virtual newborns at 75 million years. They are part of the same formation that yields an almost endless supply of dinosaur fossils in places like Dinosaur Provincial Park. In normal depositional environments, layers of sedimentary rock are laid down one atop the other, like the pages of a book. This leads to the normal assumption that layers near the top should be younger than those beneath. Geologists refer to this as the Principle of Superposition. Quite literally, it means that the rocks on the top should be the youngest. This orderly arrangement is often upset in the Rockies where layers of old rocks may be thrust atop their younger neighbours. The layers may move great distances before resting at their present locations. In this particular case, they have slid approximately 32 km. On the face of Mount Yamnuska, the junction between the soft shale and the vertical limestone is known as the McConnell Thrust Fault. It stretches some 200 km, and represents the sliding layer atop which the limestones were moved over the younger shales. It also forms the official start of the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies.

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All Material © Ward Cameron 2005