Alberta Canada pin

Alberta Canada pin

This pin was given to me by Ron Eberhardt now retired from TxDot. He obtained it at a professional meeting.

Alberta is a province of Canada. It is Canada’s fourth-most populous province and most populous of Canada’s three prairie provinces. Alberta and its neighbor, Saskatchewan, were established as provinces on September 1, 1905.

Alberta is located in western Canada and is one of Canada’s three Prairie Provinces. It is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U.S. state and is also one of only two provinces that are landlocked.

Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is located near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada’s crude oil and also oil sands (Athabasca oil sands) and other northern resource industries. Approximately 290 km (180 mi) south of the capital is Calgary, Alberta’s largest city. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta’s two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million. Notable tourist destinations in the province include Banff, Canmore, Drumheller, Jasper and Sylvan Lake.

Alberta’s oldest surface landscape is its extreme northeastern part, east of the Slave and lower Athabasca rivers, where crystalline rocks formed during the Precambrian era (4,000 to 544 Ma) appear at the surface. This small outcrop of the Canadian Shield does not end in the northeast—its rocks form a basement under the rest of the province, sloping down to 6,000 m in the southwest.

 Scientists from Alberta Geological Survey and the University of Alberta have discovered an 8 km wide bowl-shaped impact crater near Bow City in southern Alberta.

Scientists from Alberta Geological Survey and the University of Alberta have discovered an 8 km wide bowl-shaped impact crater near Bow City in southern Alberta.

During the Paleozoic era (544 to 250 million years ago) Alberta alternated between dry land and sea, and life evolved from simple plants and animals to vertebrates and dryland vegetation. The decay of this plant and animal life, especially during the Devonian period (410 to 353 million years ago), formed the basis of most of the province’s oil and natural gas deposits.

The Mesozoic era (250 to 65 Ma) also subjected Alberta to alternating upraisings of the land and infloodings of ocean waters. This was the era of the dinosaurs, the period that bequeathed the badland formations of the Red Deer River valley, and laid down most of the province’s coal resources.

The Cenozoic era (65 Ma to the present) saw the uplifting of the Rocky Mountains and the establishment of the province’s physiographic framework. About 25,000 years ago the last advance of continental ice scoured the terrain and virtually covered the entire province. Only the highest parts of the Rockies, the Cypress Hills and the Porcupine Hills escaped. The final retreat of the ice age, beginning about 13,000 years ago, created the current river systems and soils.

The prairie region of southern Alberta includes both short-grass and mixed-grass characteristics. The short-grass area of the southeastern corner features short, drought-resistant grasses such as blue grama, growing on light brown soil deficient in nitrogen and phosphorus, and about 12 cm deep. Annual water deficiency and wind erosion cause considerable soil drifting. The mixed-grass area, forming an arc to the west and north of the short-grass region, contains more fertile, dark brown soil, while western wheat grass and other taller grasses provide the natural vegetation.

The parkland regions of central Alberta and the Peace River country are characterized by a natural vegetation cover of tall grasses and aspen trees. The central parkland contains fertile black soils, while the grey soils of the Peace River area are slightly less fertile.

The boreal region of northern Alberta contains forest vegetation varying from predominant aspen and white birch in the south to white spruce, larch and black spruce farther north. Balsam fir and jack pine are also found in eastern areas, with alpine fir and lodgepole pine in the west. Nutrient-deficient grey soils underlie the forest cover. Alpine fir, white spruce and lodgepole pine dominate the lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains. At higher elevations, scattered stands of black spruce and alpine larch are interspersed with lichens and alpine flowers in picturesque alpine meadows. Rock, permanent snow cover and glacial ice dominate the highest elevations.

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