Tectonic Collision

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Nahanni National Park is the scene of a major ancient accident. I’m not saying the Pacific plate was texting while driving, but it completely rear ended the North American Plate. And now, an area that used to be flat sea floor is jagged rising mountains complete with geothermal activity at their base.

What’s interesting is that the geology is a snapshot into the geological past of Nahanni Park. As the Nahanni River cut through the rising layers of crust, it revealed sediment full of fossils that used to be the seabed of an ancient ocean. In addition, although no active volcanoes formed, magma that was pushed upwards cooled into massive batholith structures that punctured the terrain and now appear as steep granite peaks.

Photos by Jose F. Vigil. USGS, Kevin Teague and topographical map from Google. Used with Creative Commons license.