Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Redwall Fault & Hot Water

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The Redwall Fault by Larry Halverson


The iron-rich cliffs of this dramatic park entrance are known as the “Iron Gates”. They were formed by intense heat and pressure during the building of the Rockies. It is the best example of fault breccia (shattered and reconsolidated rock) in the Rocky Mountain parks.

The Radium Hot Springs Pools can thank the Redwall Fault for its source of water, which originates from the fault's depths. Normal rain water filters down into the earth's crust continuously. Since the temperature rises one degree Fahrenheit every eighteen meters we go into the earth, the water must percolate down at least 2.5 km below the surface in order to encounter rock that is hot enough to turn it to steam. As the steam is forced to rise, it condenses back to water, and like water everywhere, it follows the path of least resistance. In the case of Radium Hot Springs, the easiest path is through the shattered zone where the rock is broken up.

Radium Hot Springs - A place to take the chill off this time of year.