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Royal Tyrrell Museum/Bad Lands Interpretive Trail EarthCache

Hidden : 06/21/2007
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Geocache Description:

This trail will introduce you to most of the features that make the badlands such an amazing place. It will also educate you about the forces at work to create this unique ecological area.

A large portion of the badlands is full of bentonite clay. Bentonite was formed from ancient volcanic ash, deposited millions of years ago.

Common badlands plants include four types of Artemisia. The First nations peoples who lived in the area used this plant to remedy stomach pains and general ailments; they brewed it up as tea to treat colds and coughs, and chewed it to relieve thirst.

Most of Alberta's dinosaur remains are found in the badlands and river valleys where Cretaceous-aged sedimentary rocks are exposed. The rock layers deposited after the dinosaurs became extinct were scraped away be glaciers during the last ice age. Today, wind, rain, and snow continue to erode the badlands, exposing more fossils with each passing season.

Each year, almost half a centimetre of the soft rock erodes off the tops of the hills and is ultimately carried away by the Red Deer River.

This valley was first formed by flood waters from melting glaciers during the last Ice Age and has been eroding ever since.

To log this earth cache please email the owner with the answers to the following questions:

  1. Bentonite clay looks harmless; what happens when moisture is introduced into the clay?
  2. What is the common name for the plant "Artemisia"?
  3. How are "Benches" formed in the badlands?
  4. What type of fossilized wood can be found on the trail?
Bonus question: Early French Canadian fur trappers called this area?

Please post a photo of you and your GPS at the site.

Treading Lightly
As park visitors we are but temporary guests in a protected area that is home to many animals and plants. In this very special place we all have a responsibility to tread lightly.

When on the trails please remember:

In the Park all rocks, fossils, plants and animals are protected by law from disturbance, excavation, removal or harassment. No flower picking or fossil digging is allowed.

Keep all pets under control and on a two metre leash. Please use litter pick-up bags.

Stay on formal trails as much as possible. If you must go off-trail, keep off plants. Walk on bare rock or in "gullies" to minimize long-term footprints.

Respect wildlife by not feeding them, and watch from a safe distance. Report any unique sightings to park staff.

Pack out your litter! (Feel free to CITO other peoples when you see it)

Additional Hints (No hints available.)