The Mt Polley mine disaster

At two am on the morning of 4 August, 2014, a tailings pond at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley gold and copper mine broke through an earthen dam, sending 10 million cubic metres of tailings water and 4.5 cubic meters of tailings sediment pouring into Polley Lake and from there through Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake.…

Fluvial geomorphology is not dead

For those of you wondering WTH fluvial geomorphology means, it’s the study of river/stream processes and the landforms they create. Ben Hayes, the director of the Susquehanna River Initiative, has a nice description of it on his webpage, while Dave Sauchyn at the University of Regina has a comprehensive summary of the processes fluvial geomorphology…

Ice Jams: A Powerful & Messy Problem

It’s spring in our northern cold climates, and that usually means ice jams. Got a shot yesterday of a small one on the Oldman River, just south of Lethbridge. Why do ice jams mainly form in spring, and how do they affect rivers? Ice jams usually form during spring breakup, though they have been known…

Dynamic Coulee Landscape

The coulee environment is more fragile than you might expect, despite it’s ‘timeless’ look. We had a skiff of snow a week ago (a far cry from the blizzard we had two days ago!), which was perfect for illuminating the topography of the coulee slopes. Particularly this slope failure, which I’ve been watching for a…