Foothills Erratics Train

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Big Rock

The Foothills Erratics Train is a landscape feature of Alberta which is composed of thousands of boulders in a 644 kilometre chain ranging in size from pebbles to immense boulders like Big Rock.[1] These boulders are composed of pink and purple quartzites that are not native to this region of Alberta. Their source has been identified as being near Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper National Park, most likely in the Tonquin Valley. It is thought that these boulders are debris from a landslide that fell onto a glacier during the late Pleistocene epoch. This glacier then carried the boulders north and east until it met the more massive continental glaciers, which deflected the glacial stream to the south-east. The advance of this glacier carried boulders well into the state of Montana. Once the glaciers began melting, the boulders were dropped where they are now found. The Big Rock, the most well known example, is located just west of the town of Okotoks on Highway 7.


  1. ^ Gray, Charlotte; The Museum Called Canada: 25 Rooms of Wonder, Random House, 2004 ISBN 978-0-679-31220-8

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