23 Sep 2023
This Saturday adventure, which begins in Cochrane, is a road trip where we will see various forms of magnificent glacial geology in the Cochrane & Lochend areas and also see a rapidly developing program of hydraulic fracking for oil in the Lochend area. We will drive through and stop at locations in the deeply incised glacial melt water channel which runs from Cochrane to Big Hill Springs Provincial Park and onwards into the northwest Lochend area. A similar melt water channel also occurs just south of the small village of Dog Pound.
We will also see areas covered by glacial moraines characterized by knob & kettle topography and glacial drumlins. Small creeks and ponds occur in these channels and provide habitat for abundant water fowl. We will stop and discuss the numerous oil well pads, which produce oil from the tight Cardium sandstone oil play. Long distance horizontal wells combined with hydraulic fracking have led to the success of this oil program. Drilling and oil production is now occurring in an area of approximately 200 square kilometers and in some cases has had significant environmental impact on ranches, farms and acreages in the area.
We will also see some active large gravel mining operations and the sites of a couple of planned gravel pits which will significantly impact the area. Gerry Bietz, President, Bighill Creek Preservation Society will tell us of their efforts to protect this environmentally unique and fragile area.
Meeting Location: The parking lot at Cochrane Historical Ranche, on the north side of Bow Valley Trail/Highway 2A in Cochrane.
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