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Bedrock Geology of Alberta

Alberta bedrock map
Courtesy Alberta Geological Survey

Alberta is largely covered with glacial deposits of recent age, but beneath its blanket of sediment is a variety of rocks ranging in age from Archean, some 3 billion years old, to late Tertiary.

The ancient, deep crustal rocks of the Canadian Shield are exposed in the northeast corner of the province, but they are everywhere beneath the relatively thin layers of younger sedimentary rocks, which date from three separate time periods: the Devonian, the Cretaceous–Paleocene, and the Oligocene–Miocene.

The earlier rocks tend to be marine, laid down in the shallow continental seas that are typical of most of geologic time. The later rocks tend to be nonmarine, made of river-washed gravel and sand from the rise and erosion of the Rockies to the west. Compressive forces from continental collisions have pushed parts of the Rockies eastward onto the plains in thrust sheets.

You can download larger versions of this map for close-up viewing or printing. I've made them suitable for printing on letter paper at 300 dpi. The legend is also here, essential for identifying which formations are which and how they are correlated across the province.

Alberta on one page (1950x3300 pixels, 1.1 MB)
Legend, printable (3100x2450, 970 KB)
Legend, full size (4750x3750, 910 KB) in case you can print oversize pages
Northern Alberta (3250x2150, 1 MB) the closest you can get
Central Alberta (3250x1830, 1.1 MB)
Southern Alberta (3250x2200, 1.1 MB)

See also the Precambrian tectonic map of Alberta and the Phanerozoic tectonic map of Alberta for a simpler picture of this province's structural features.

If you're interested in playing with the original files, download them from the Alberta Geological Survey.

Back to Earth Science Maps of Canada

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