Skip to comments.Geology Picture of the Week, April 30-May 7, 2005: Frigid Sand Dunes
Posted on 05/01/2006 12:47:20 PM PDT by cogitator
This started as a question to myself: "I wonder if there are sand dunes in northern climates?" Googling on "sand dunes" + Canada revealed another heretofore unknown (at least to me) geological location -- Athabasca Sand Dunes in Saskatchewan. I've heard of Athabasca before in association with tar sands, but this is a the first time I'd heard of a provincial Athabasca Sand Dunes Park. The Web site says that is only accessible by air. So I'm guessing not a lot of people have been there or visit there.
Since this is very new to me and perhaps others, first a map to locate them:
And three views of the dunes are below. Underneath the pictures (in the first comment) is a description of them. The linked page also describes them, and notes that the northern shore of the lake is contaminated by now-ceased uranium mining activities.
The last two are from this collection:
Photographs of Lake Athabasca and L. Athabasca Sand Dunes
Unlike most dunes, which are associated with deserts, the Athabasca Dunes are in wetland and boreal forest ecosystems, and hence are extraordinarily biologically diverse. The dunes are home to over 300 plant species of which 42 are rare and 10 are endemic (found nowhere else). The dunes are also one of Canada's best bird watching areas, being home to 30 species of wood warblers (the champagne of songbirds) alone. The dunes are so unique that the Athabasca Sand Dunes Provincial Park was formed in 1996 that protected some, but not all, areas. Scientists from around the world study the dunes' ecological complexity.
Formed by glaciers, which ground the local Athabasca Sandstone to powder, the dunes began their life as a delta in a prehistoric giant freshwater lake. Today, the remnants of Lake Athabasca border the edge of the 100 km long dunes, providing a recreational paradise for adventurous travelers. Access to the dunes is not easy. No roads exist in this remote land of boreal forests growing on sphagnum wetlands. Access is easiest by floatplane that can be chartered from Stony Rapids, SK, 200 km distant. Several remote wilderness lodges also exist in the vicinity of the dunes.
** ping **
You have aided my dull brain greatly. I was messing around with Google Earth the other day and couldn't figure out what these were (I had the Google Community, etc. off - trying to identify places without help is a fun use of the service).
Google earth on your home with greatest magnification. then try to figure out when the picture was taken.
Using some clues I found on the picture I fugured out that:
The picture was taken on a Tuesday (the trash cans were on the street)
The picture was taken probably 9-10 am. (the shadows were pointing west)
The picture was taken over 2 years ago (A truck in my driveway was sold 2 Januarys ago.)
The picture was taken the week before a holiday (my neighbor takes his RV out and parks it to reserve a spot on holiday weekends, and his RV is gone).
With all of the above, I'm betting it was taken right around 1 july 2002 or 2003.
I don't often comment on these threads ... usually because I am speechless with awe ... but I really appreciate them. The diversity on this ol' planet is simply amazing and speaks to the mightiness of Almighty God, the Creator of all this splendor.
Great fun, I am anxious for greater coverage as there is not yet detail on a lot of spots I'm interested in. The mine I worked at in San Manuel, AZ is partially there (mine haulage and man shafts as well as pit an part of the cave area), however so much of interest in that state isn't there yet.
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