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Ancient Landscapes: 60 Million Years Ago to Current - Okanagan Falls, British Columbia, Canada
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 49° 18.191 W 119° 32.129
11U E 315685 N 5464252
Quick Description: Ancient Landscapes Timeline is at the entrance to Vaseux Lake Migratory Bird Sanctuary that was established in 1923. It is now known as Vaseux Lake Provincial Park. The park is about 6.5 km south of Okanagan Falls or 15.5 km north of Oliver.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/7/2015 6:52:30 AM
Waymark Code: WMQ2K2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member veritas vita
Views: 2

Long Description:
This timeline is part of an information kiosk at the start of the walking trail that leads to the bird watching tower and a wooden walkway. This is a very short walk that leads to Vaseux Lake where more than 220 bird species frequent the area. There are several benches along the way to stop and enjoy the abundance of swans, ducks and geese and other birds and wildlife in the area. The best time to visit is spring or fall.

Ancient Landscapes

60 Million Years Ago: Fault
50 Million Years Ago: Volcanoes
30 Million Years Ago: River Deposits
1.6 Million to 13,000 Years Ago: Glacier
13,000 - 10,000 Years Ago: Melting Glacier
Today: Current Valley

The peaceful Okanagan Valley of today is the offspring of earth shattering forces and immense spans of time. From about 246 to 66 million years ago the collision of two great tectonic plates, the Pacific and North American Continent created the land we now call British Columbia.

Over the next 20 million years, tectonic plate movement and volcanic activity lifted and reshaped the land forming the Thompson Plateau to the west and the Okanagan Highlands to the east. About 50 million years ago, a huge slab of younger rock slid off the valley walls. The underlying two-billion-year-old bedrock is visible on the east side of Skaha Lake, both sides of Vaseux Lake, and most spectacularly at McIntyre Bluff south of Vaseux.

Glaciers have been the main force shaping the Okanagan Valley as it is today. The most recent, the Fraser Glacier, disappeared about 10,000 years ago. Ice up to 3000 m thick filled the valley, covered the mountains, and by its ebb and flow eroded and reshaped the land beneath. Bedrock outcroppings were smoothed and hollows and depressions were filled with material moved by the advancing ice. The present undulating profile typical of the upper valley walls was the result.

When this land building slowed about 60 million years ago, the shattered underlying rock “relaxed” westward leaving deep faults in the earth’s crust. The Okanagan Valley lies along one such fault.

In the narrow, deep valley, the ice melted from the top down, exposing higher elevations first. Meltwater flowed over and beside the glacier carrying loosened debris that was deposited as the distinctive terraces or benchlands of sand, gravel, and clay along the valley slopes. The largest deposits lie where glacial streams from side valleys dropped deep layers of material as fans and deltas at their outlets into the main valley. The federal Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre north of Penticton and much of downtown Summerland sit on deposits left by the glacial Trout Creek.

Melting ice lobes in the South Okanagan created glacial Lake Oliver from Vaseux Lake to south of the US border, and Lake Penticton from Okanagan Falls to Enderby. Lake Penticton's shoreline, was about 100 metres higher than present Lake Okanagan, and the towering silt cliffs edging Skaha and Lake Okanagan are the remnants of former bottom sediments.

As water levels fell, material brought down by flooding side creeks blocked off sections of Lake Penticton and Oliver, creating the present chain of lakes and the river. The Okanagan River 8000 years ago was much wider and the oxbow, or meander, system - present before the river was damned and channelized - developed as water flow decreased and slowed.

Plant and animal life returned to the mountaintops while the valley was still ice-bound. As the ice melted, species moved down the mountains and north from the western United States creating the Okanagan Valley's unique and unusually wide range of plant communities and wildlife species.

All information provided was transcribed from the sign.

Ancient Landscapes Timeline

Admission fee? (Include URL/link in Long Description to website that gives the current fee): no

Visit Instructions:

At least one good photo you have personally obtained and a brief story of your visit. Any additions or corrections to the information about the Waymark (for instance, have the hours open to the public changed) will be greatly appreciated.

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