Abstract

Experimental studies concerning current geomorphic processes and erosion rates in the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, have not explained the unusual extent of badland development or prominent nonstructural near-horizontal surfaces that occur in the park. Two of these surfaces result from spillway development associated with Wisconsin deglaciation, and the extent of badland development is associated with major spillway concentration and exposure of highly erodible Cretaceous strata. A third surface is associated with erosion caused by locally generated runoff. All surfaces are blanketed with aeolian sands and silts deposited around 5500 BP, which profoundly affected the hydrology of the area and water and sediment discharge from the badlands to the Red Deer River. Subsequent stripping of the aeolian cover by streams, along with piping and tunnel erosion, has reexposed vulnerable Cretaceous strata and restored the high erosion rates now observed in these badlands.

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