Castle Mountain - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Castle Mountain - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Castle Mountain - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Castle Mountain - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image
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Castle Mountain

Location: Banff National Park, Trans Canada Highway at Junction with Highway 93 South, AB, Canada

Vital Statistics:  Height: 2862 Metres (9,387 Feet) 

Formation Mechanism: Plate Tectonics

Topographic Map: 82o05 Castle Mountain

Description: Driving west from Banff townsite the mountains maintain a similar character until you get your first views of the reddish slopes of Castle Mountain. Representing the official start of the Main Ranges of the Rockies, it brings a sudden change in the appearance of the mountain faces. Unlike the steeply bedded slopes of the Front Ranges, Castle Mountainís layers are almost horizontal in appearance. The name pays tribute to its castle-like appearance, typical of castellate peaks. These layers of Middle Cambrian limestones have been pushed more than 40 km (24 mi.) inland along a shallow incline. The resultant layers rise some 500 m (1,640 ft) above the surrounding Front Range summits, yet maintain an almost horizontal layer structure. It almost appears as if the layers were raised vertically rather than through a gradual inland movement.

Over many millions of years, oceans that covered present day Alberta fluctuated in water levels. This change is also reflected in variations in rock types. In deep waters, clastic rocks like shales and quartzites were deposited. In shallower times, limestones dominated. Looking at Castle Mountain, there are several sandwiches of clastic rocks overlain by limestones.

Since Castle Mountainís formation, it has been sculpted by the forces of nature. Weathering has helped to accentuate the castellate appearance by separating the summit into several buttressed peaks. Glaciers smoothed some of the rough edges, and along the back of the mountain, carved a large glacial bowl or cirque. Within this bowl, the blue waters of Rockbound Lake reflects the surrounding summits.

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All Material © Ward Cameron 2005