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Sunrise alpenglow at Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Banff




Alpenglow sunrise at Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains near Banff


Valley of the Ten Peaks

Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks near Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains is located at an elevation of 1885 m (6184 ft).
The ten peaks tower up to 4900 ft (1200 to 1500 m) above the lake building a continuous ridge of 7.5 miles (12 km) length. The mountains consist of four sediment formations that lie flat on top of each other from old to young. The prominent change in the rock color from reddish brown to gray separates the Gog quartzite from the overlying Cathedral formation. The quartzite is up to 600 million years old and consists of sandstone made of quartz sand grains. The reddish colors are caused by rusted iron-rich layers. The Cathedral rocks are up to 525 million years old and are cliff-forming dolomite rocks produced by bacteria in a shallow ocean environment that fed on magnesium excreting dolomite. The highest parts of the peaks consist of Stephen shale and Eldon limestone that are about 515 million years old and contain fossils of the first animals that ever crawled in the ancient sea beds. In contrast to its name, picturesque Moraine Lake is not dammed by a glacial moraine but owes its existence to a young and huge rock slide that occurred on the steep and prominent cliff called Tower of Babel.
The alpenglow at sunrise was spectacular. After seven failed attempts in the pouring rain, the conditions were finally perfect, although it looked like another cold and grey morning. But just in time the cloud cover opened and allowed a few sunbeams to shoot across the sky. They illuminated the fast moving clouds and the jagged peaks for only about ten seconds. After this fleeting moment of pure bliss, the landscape was once again shrouded in grey.

August 2009
Canon 5D MkII, Canon EF-L 16-35 mm, f/16, 4 sec, ISO 50, tripod

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