Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Pacific Rim National Park Reserve



 


Between 40 and 90 million years ago, drifting land masses adhered to the western edge of Vancouver Island creating a landscape characterized by unique rock formations, seismic activity and subsequent faulting. Along the West Coast Trail, now managed as a wilderness area, fossils of shells and crabs of the Tertiary age have been exposed as erosion has carved out sea caves, surge channels, sea stacks, tide pools and coastal waterfalls. Glaciation, which reached its maximum 20 000 years ago, deposited silt, sand, clay and gravel throughout the park area. As the ice melted, the Long Beach area was submerged until rebounding and uplifting claimed the land, forming the marine terraces, wave-cut cliffs, and glorious strand of wild wind-blown beaches backed by lush rainforest. Wind and water continue to sculpt land surfaces, the crashing Pacific breakers assaulting beaches and headlands of the outer coast, most noticeably on the wild and beautiful islands in the Broken Island group. The park’s intertidal zone is divided into the splash zone, the upper beach zone of gravel bars and drift logs, which is submerged by tides 10% of the time, the middle zone covered in water for 50% of the tide cycle, and the low intertidal zone, underwater 90% of the time.

 

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