Turtle Mountain (Alberta)
|Elevation||2,210 m (7,251 ft)|
|Prominence||518 m (1,699 ft)|
|Topo map||NTS 82G/09|
The mountain was named in 1880 by a local rancher as its shape at the time resembled a turtle. It was well known to the local tribes as the mountain that slowly moves. No first nations were known to inhabit its base.
The mountain is most famous for the 1903 Frank Slide in which 30 million cubic metres (82 million tonnes) of limestone broke away from the top of the mountain, burying the East half of the town of Frank and killing about 70 of the approximate 600 residents of the town. However, only 12 bodies were ever recovered. The mountain has been monitored since 1903 with the most recent project established in 2003.
Turtle Mountain is an anticline of Paleozoic Rundle Group carbonates thrust over weaker Mesozoic clastics and coals. Summit fissures at the apex of the anticline likely allowed water to infiltrate and weaken the slightly-soluble carbonates within the mountain face, while the supporting underlying clastics were undermined by valley glaciation followed by erosion from the Crowsnest River.
Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project & Field Laboratory
On April 29, 2003, at the ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Frank Slide, the Hon. Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta, announced $1.1 million in funding for a monitoring program on Turtle Mountain.
Implementing the project required a collaborative effort between contractors, the Government of Alberta and universities. Initial stages of the state-of-the-art predictive monitoring system were designed and deployed by March 31, 2005. The Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project was administered by Emergency Management Alberta (EMA), with technical direction from the Energy Resources Conservation Board/Alberta Geological Survey (ERCB/AGS).
As of April 2, 2005, ERCB/AGS assumed responsibility for the long-term operation, maintenance and upgrading of the mountain-monitoring system, as well as facilitating research using the system. Since taking over the project, AGS has reviewed the near–real-time data stream from the sensor network installed on the south peak of Turtle Mountain. The data show corresponding trends between temperature and the slow, long-term creep of South Peak. The present project updates and modernizes some of the components of the more recent monitoring programs, as well as adding newer, more high-tech systems.