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Hoodoo

A strange looking pillar of stone created when a hard caprock protects soft underlying rock from erosion. The word was originally associated with voodoo culture, and meant "bad luck." Because hoodoos sometimes occur in large numbers in eroded valleys and canyons, to European minds the resulting forest of alien looking rock formations seemed sinister and magical. Hippies would say that they are Trippy! Many examples of hoodoos can be seen around the Drumheller area in southern Alberta.

Hoodoos are strangely shaped pillars of rock that are produced through erosion by water, wind, and frost. They are common in Alberta's badlands, and those at the Hoodoo Recreational Area are large, accessible, and famous enough to represent Alberta on a special series of twenty-five coins. Across Willow Creek from these hoodoos are fossil oyster beds and petrified tree stumps that reflect the high and low water levels of the Bearpaw Sea, the last ancient sea that once submerged much of Alberta. I didn't know that Alberta used to be a sea! Hoodoos form where there is a hard "caprock" which shelters the softer rocks beneath it from erosion. As the soft rocks surrounding the protected sediments erode away, a free-standing pillar is formed. Gradually, however, rain will undermine the caprock which topples over and exposes the softer sediments beneath. Without its protective cap, the hoodoo pillar will rapidly disappear. Hoodoos evolve as fast as one centimetre per year on some faces, and are very fragile. Climbing them would be very dangerous

For more information on landforms in Alberta click here.

Hoodoos, southern Alberta.

Hoodoos, southern Alberta.