Okanagan Falls

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Okanagan Falls
Nickname(s): OK Falls
Okanagan Falls is located in British Columbia
Okanagan Falls
Okanagan Falls
Location of Okanagan Falls in British Columbia
Coordinates: 49°21′00″N 119°34′00″W / 49.35000°N 119.56667°W / 49.35000; -119.56667Coordinates: 49°21′00″N 119°34′00″W / 49.35000°N 119.56667°W / 49.35000; -119.56667
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Area code(s) 250, 778
Okanagan Falls' welcome sign
The real Okanagan Falls have long been submerged by the waters of Skaha Lake, which rose as a result of the construction of this small dam. The dam is located just south of the bridge along Highway 97 The dam is a vital component of the flood and irrigation controls of the region.

Okanagan Falls (also known as OK Falls) is a community located on the south end of Skaha Lake in British Columbia.[1][2] In 2012, Okanagan Falls expressed interest in incorporating as a municipality.[3]

Originally named Dogtown, which was derived from the name Dog Lake ("skaha" means "dog" in the Okanagan language), the current name derives from the former small set of the falls that used to lie on the Okanagan River at the outlet of the lake.[4][5]

Geological Features[edit]

Nestled at the head of a giant spillway formed as the discharge of Galacial Lake Penticton was constrained between Mount McLellan to the west and Peach Cliff to the east. Okanagan Falls has a diverse assemblage of geological attractions.[6]

Peach Cliff[edit]

Looking up at monolithic Peach Cliff on a spring afternoon in Okanagan Falls

Peach Cliff is a dominant landmark to the east of Okanagan Falls. It consists of trachyte of Eocene age. Peach Cliff is home to herds of mule deer and a sizeable herd of California bighorn sheep. Perched high on a spur of Peach Cliff is Balancing Rock, a large glacial erratic supported by a couple of granitic cobbles.[7]

Indian Head[edit]

Southwest of Okanagan Falls, are the ragged cliffs of Indian Head, one of the most unusual rock formations in the Okanagan. Consisting of dark volcanic rocks overlying a lighter conglomerate. This formation contains spectacular megabreccia, volcanic and plutonic rocks up to 70 meters across and metamorphic rocks of up to 500 meters across.[8]

Mahoney Lake[edit]

South of Okanagan Falls lies meromictic Mahoney Lake, home to spectacular blooms of purple sulphur bacteria. This purple is contrasted by nearby Green Lake, which is coloured by the precipitation of calcium carbonates in the water column.[9]

Tourism[edit]

The Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory is a research facility founded in 1960 and located southwest of Okanagan Falls and Penticton.

The site houses three instruments – an interferometric radio telescope, a 26-m single-dish antenna, and a solar flux monitor – and supports engineering laboratories. The DRAO is operated by the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics of the National Research Council of the Canadian government.

The observatory was named an IEEE Milestone for first radio astronomical observations using VLBI. There is a self-guided tour available at the facility during daylight hours.

Parks[edit]

Christie Memorial Provincial Park is located on the south shoreline of Skaha Lake. Okanagan Falls Provincial Park is also nearby.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Okanagan Falls". BC Geographical Names. 
  2. ^ "Dogtown". BC Geographical Names. 
  3. ^ Fries, Joe (September 11, 2012). "Ok Falls still looking at incorporation". Penticton Western News. Retrieved May 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Okanagan Falls (falls)". BC Geographical Names. 
  5. ^ "Okanagan Falls Park". BC Geographical Names. 
  6. ^ Okanagan Geology South. Okanagan Geology Committee. 2011. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-9699795-3-1. 
  7. ^ Okanagan Geology South. Okanagan Geology Committee. 2011. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-9699795-3-1. 
  8. ^ Okanagan Geology South. Okanagan Geology Committee. 2011. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-0-9699795-3-1. 
  9. ^ Okanagan Geology South. Okanagan Geology Committee. 2011. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-9699795-3-1.