Friday, August 11, 2006

Under-Advertised Geology

Photo courtesy of Ali Brukner (a.k.a. Dad).
When you cross over Marias Pass on Highway 2 between East Glacier and Columbia Falls, Montana, you pass by a most significant geologic feature. If you stop at the roadside rest and read the placards there, you would not be any more enlightened. At this stop there is a 60-foot tall obelisk of granite commemorating the completion of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway at this pass in 1930. However, if you gaze to the north at the cliffs marking the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, you will see the trace of the Lewis Overthrust. Here Precambrian rocks (one billion years old) have been pushed up over much younger Cretaceous (70 million years old) rocks. The light colored band rising slightly to the right marks the fault surface.

We only were aware of this from my casual research at the libraries we visit for internet access. We camped two nights at the Summit Campground right next to the roadside stop, railroad, and highway. It was a lovely spot, but it required cessation of conversation when trains passed by. Earplugs were necessary for restful sleep. But it was worth the chance to stay in the shadow of such a geologic splendor.

Posted using wi-fi access from Missoula Public Library, Montana.
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Anonymous said...

Well, you come by your writing honestly, your mother is a lovely storyteller. I had to take a break from my work to catch up on your adventures. What lovely landscape. Your days are full of beauty. Say hi to John for me. See ya in a couple of weeks!

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