The World I Know

Recently, I was asked why I chose to study earth science. Living now in Manhattan, this is of course a valid question. In a city dominated by the built environment, it is human achievement that draws one’s eye and commands one’s attention. The world I come from, however, is more than a little different. Imagine a theatre stage, with a curtain as a backdrop. In New York City, this backdrop is the cityscape. In Alberta, Canada, the backdrop I grew up with was the mountains. Allow me to take you on a little excursion of the world I know – the world I have spent the better part of my university career trying to study and understand.


Athabasca Glacier viewed from Mt. Wilcox, Jasper National Park


The glacier is just one ‘arm’ of the Columbia Icefields that extends down into the mountain valley


The rock figure is an ‘inukshuk’, often built as navigation or reference markers in the wilderness


Mt. Wilcox


The Saskatchewan Glacier – another arm of the Columbia Icefields


Moraine Lake and the surrounding peaks, Banff National Park


 Lake Louise. The green color comes from very fine rock dust, which forms as glaciers grind away the rocks at their base




Sentinel Pass


Valley of the Six Glaciers


In the fall, the larches turn the valley into a sea of gold


Rivers of rock



This inukshuk reminds me of Superman



The road descends towards the town of Brule


Pyramid Mountain, Jasper National Park


Mount Edith Cavell




Tongues of ice – Angel Glacier



An ice cave below Angel Glacier. Caves may last from several weeks to years


Athabasca Falls



My friend the spoiled chipmunk 


And I still think this tree looks like Godzilla

Be warned: you may have just sustained a lethal dose of mostly harmless science

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11 responses to “The World I Know

  1. Gorgeous! I love geology. These pictures remind me of our time in Alaska. I’ve always wanted to see Lake Louise. I remember reading about some important fossil finds up in that area.

    • Well there is the Burgess Shale fossil deposit just on the other side of the Rockies, which is about as exciting as it gets, but there’s a fair share of fossils in many formations if you know what you’re looking for. (I definitely don’t 🙂 ). I’ve been to Alaska once as a child, and would love to go again. I’d imagine the hiking there must be spectacular.

  2. I love the inukshuk! You must be in the middle of culture shock. I know when I’m away from the space and the mountains in New Zealand, for too long, something in me dies. Hiraeth – a Welsh word – is close to how I feel.

    • Beautiful word 🙂 I manage to get out of the city at least for one day a week, so that’s a bit of a recharge. But it is definitely a different world. I’d imagine you’d feel just the same way after spending so much time in NZ’s mountains.

  3. Truly gorgeous. I’ll be sharing this post on my FB to show my out of province and out of country friends the landscapes in my home province. The photos bring back good memories of my travels to nearby lakes, Jasper, Banff, and the mountains when I was younger. I should go back again someday. Thanks for this post.

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