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Rock Chips Newsletter Winter 2009

Rock Chips Newsletter Winter 2009

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A quarterly newsletter by the Alberta Geological Survey
A quarterly newsletter by the Alberta Geological Survey

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Alberta Geological Survey on Mar 29, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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The Peace River Urban Geology and Landslide Project
In the 1970s and 1980s, Alberta Geological Survey(AGS) studied surface and subsurface geology inurban areas to provide information that would aidfuture development and land-use planning. After more than 25 years, AGS has re-initiated this type of study within the Geological Hazards Section, withthe rst study focusing on the town of Peace River innorthwestern Alberta.The town of Peace River has a large portion of its buildings and roadways built either on the ood plainor on the unstable valley walls of the Peace River Valley. To move goods, products or resources in andout of the town, active landslides must be crossedand the related infrastructure maintained. As thereare various types and sizes of landslides that moveat various rates, it is important to better understand both these landslides and the complex geologicalconditions that led to the formation of these features.
Glacial SedimentsGlaciolacustrine sedimentsFluvial sandsFluvial sands & gravelsBedrockFailure Scarp
 Aerial oblique photograph showing the locations of the various stratigraphic units as they are represented on a large landslide onHighway 2, on the eastern side of the study area.
Rock Chips
is published four times a year by the Alberta Geological Survey in the spring,summer, fall and winter.Individual articles, statistics and other information in this publication may bereproduced or quoted as long as the ERCB/AGSis credited.Past and present issues of 
Rock Chips
may beviewed on the AGS website at
 AGS reports are available for download for freefrom our website at
.Energy Resources Conservation Board Alberta Geological Survey#402, 4999 - 98th AvenueEdmonton, AlbertaCanada T6B 2X3Tel: (780) 422-1927Fax: (780) 422-1918E-mail: AGS-Info@ercb.caWe are also on Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed,YouTube and LinkedIn.Clients in the Calgary area may view AGSpublications atEnergy Resources Conservation BoardLibrary640 - 5th Avenue SWTel: (403) 297-8242.
Story Contact Information
The following AGS staff members may be contactedfor further information on their articles or citations.
The Peace River Urban Geology...
 Corey Froese (780) 427-2872
Water Sampling in the Edmonton Calgary Corridor...
Rick Huff (780) 427-2893
Metal Potential of the Mesoproterozoic Purcell...
Alexei Rukhlov (780) 427-0030Staff may also be contacted via e-mail by entering theauthor’s rst name.last name@ercb.caComments and suggestions for Rock Chips may besent to Maryanne Protz at maryanne.protz@ercb.caIn 2006, AGS initiated a study to develop a modelto better understand the extent, rate and style of thelarge-scale landslides in and around the municipality.This project is being conducted in partnership with theUniversity of Alberta and Alberta Transportation and is being supported by the Town of Peace River, CN, ATCOElectric, ATCO Pipelines and the Canadian SpaceAgency.The rst part of the study was to develop a 3-Dgeological model and complete an inventory of landslides in the area. This was necessary becauseof the geological (glacial) nature of the drift and thevarious triggers that can initiate the landslides. AlbertaGeological Survey and the University of Alberta willuse this information to develop logical groupings for thelandslide types that have occurred.To better understand the glacial geology of the studyarea, more than 1400 well logs were reviewed by AGSstaff and a 3-D model of the subsurface was built.Detailed eld mapping of available exposures was alsoundertaken to aid in this process. As there were stillsome key gaps in the knowledge of the subsurface, AGSinitiated a drilling program in the winter of 2008/2009to gather a continuous prole of the drift column above bedrock at two locations. At each location, the upper 120metres was continuously cored using rotosonic-drillingtechniques and an adjacent hole was drilled using mudrotary drilling and logged using downhole geophysics.With these core data, supplemented with mapping of exposures in the area, we obtained a complete column of the approximately 170 metres of glacial drift overlying bedrock. Results of the drilling program are available inour Open File Report 2009-18.Once the stratigraphy of the subsurface was better understood, the AGS team then constructed high-resolution ground models derived from airborne LightDetection and Ranging (LiDAR) to correlate commonelevations of landslides around the study area and better understand the specic weak zones within thesubsurface where the large landslides were occurring. Not only are the LiDAR data extremely valuable inrecognizing the common features of the large landslidesthat cover the study area, AGS staff members are alsousing GIS tools to automatically identify differentlandslide features in the region. In general, the older,atter landslides are typically less active (movingat a slower rate) than steeper, more active features.By undertaking spatial analysis on the LiDAR data,and considering factors such as slope angle, surfaceroughness and slope curvature, the hope is that featureswill become apparent that will differentiate between
2 Rock Chips Winter 2009
different levels of activity. These data would then becoupled with conventional geotechnical monitoringinformation and other space-borne monitoring data toidentify features that are moving at faster rates thanother features.
 A rotosonic-drilling rig at the Sagitawa Look Out in December 2008.Sample of the core obtained from the rotosonic drilling programshowing existing failed zones (slickensides) in the thick glacial soils.
Holocene loessGlacial Lake Peace sedimentsLate Wisconsinglacial sedimentsLate Wisconsin advance-phaseglaciolacustrine sedimentsMiddle Wisconsin fluvial sediments(containing clasts from Canadian Shield)Oldest fluvial sediments(oxidized, Cordilleran lithologies)Shaftesbury Formation shalePeace River Formation sandstone
537 m325 mczgds375 m425 m475 m
Stratigraphic column showing the glacial drift overlying the bedrock(Shaftesbury and Peace River Formations), as derived from mappingof exposures
3-D image showing results of automated pattern recognition beingapplied to high-resolution LiDAR data to aid in identifying variousrates of landslide movement at the town of Peace River.
Rock Chips Winter 2009 3

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