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Kootenai Falls: Travel through Time

Kootenai Falls: Travel through Time
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The Kootenai River tumbles over Kootenai Falls near Troy, Montana. Not only is it a beautiful roadside attraction (Highway 2 through the northwest Montana Rockies), but it was once the only portage along a completely navigable river before the dams blocked the travelway.

Visitors to the falls stand on Precambrian surfaces while looking at a much newer river, and an even more recent travel route. The ripple marks and mudcracks formed before the Rockies, or even the ancestral Rockies, grew. The ripples developed in a shallow ocean. Look closely at the ripple marks image. The patterns travel in different directions. This results from multiple layers of deposition. The mudcracks developed when shallow seas’ bases dried up, exposing them to the elements, cracking the mud. The river formed much later, after the Rockies grew. Indians, and later others, traversed the stream in canoes, among them sturgeon-nosed canoes whose bows and sterns tapered downward instead of upward.

Highway 2 follows the Kootenai River, allowing visitors to travel beside it. If you are one of them, stop at the Kootenai Falls rest stop near Troy, Montana. It is worth it.

For more on the Kootenai River or Kootenai Falls, visit these articles on the blog:

Geologic Processes

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Kootenai Falls: Travel Through Time by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


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