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The lush vegetation and warm climate of Alberta was perfect
for dinosaurs, who roamed the earth from about 220 to 65
million years ago. When a mass disturbance, probably
resulting from asteroid strikes, led to the extinction
of dinosaurs, mammals began to become the dominant class.
The Rocky Mountains were formed by geological
forces at about the same time as the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Enormous pressure caused by plates piling up against the
North America continent led to a rising of land. The
rising land eventually broke, forming faults, and
massive blocks of rock moved northeastward and continued
to rise, forming mountains.
Glaciers sporadically covered the landscape of Alberta
throughout its history. The last ice age occurred just
over 10,000 years ago, and the grinding, erosive force
of the glacier as it moved over Alberta shaped the
landscape to what it looks like today. The exposed bedrock that is
common throughout the Canadian Shield Natural Region
occurs as a result of the glaciers eroding away all
sediment, leaving only highly-polished and grooved rock
surfaces, and most of Alberta's badlands were cut into
shape by massive rivers emanating from the glacier as it
The sediment left during the glacial retreat formed the
rich and productive soil that is the foundation of the
plant and animal species that combine to form the
Natural Regions of Alberta.