About 80 million years ago, when the Pacific plate (led by the Farallon plate) headed down under the North American plate, all of western North America east of Nevada was lifted up about 20,000 feet. What was to become the Canadian and American Rockies started out as the western edge of the bottom of an inland ocean reaching from near the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico. Sedimentary rock layers containing fossils from before the extinction of the dinosaurs headed for the sky with a fury. We’re talking Tibet high mountains, which erosion has used the time since to beat down.
The western edge of the Canadian stretch bent the existing 100 million year-old mountain range sideways, creating a deep rift valley between it and the new higher peaks. And it took the source of the Columbia River 40 miles north.
It’s so much fun to poke around looking at history that dramatic.
To see all of the photos we took today on the way from Revelstoke to Golden, click on Sunday, August 25th.