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Common Belt series rocks found in Glacier include the Appekuny, Prichard, Grinnell, and Snowslip Formations. Reddish-brown and greenish-gray in appearance, these rocks are comprised of argillite and quartzite material that was compressed under sea water to form mudstones. The chemical composition of these rocks, in addition to their place of origin within the Belt Sea - near shore versus deeper water environments, is largely responsible for the variation in color.Chief Mountain is an isolated remnant of the eastern edge of the upper plate of the Lewis Overthrust, stranded over time from nearby formations by erosion.
More recent Quaternary age rocks are found in glacial deposits from the Pleistocene and Holocene eras and recent alluvial gravel deposits, present along Glacier’s extensive stream and river network. Landslide deposits are also prevalent in recent sediments due to the incredible relief in the park.
The impressive mountains and valleys within the park are the result of approximately 1.6 billion years of earth history and a number of geologic processes, including, erosion, sediment deposition, uplift and thrust faulting and glaciation Waterton-Glacier is a geologic park. The geologic processes happened in three stages:
1. The sedimentation or deposition of the rock;
2. The uplift of the mountains; and
3. The glaciation or carving out of mountain valleys.
Waterton-Glacier has some of the oldest and best preserved sedimentary rocks found anywhere in North America. Usually, over time and with heat and pressure, sedimentary rock becomes metamorphic rock. For example, limestone becomes marble. It is quite unusual that this old rock still retains its sedimentary characteristics.
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