Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 27 - 7/9/13 - Blairmore, AB, Canada - Fernie, BC, Canada

Day 27 - 7/9/13 - Blairmore, AB, Canada - Fernie, BC, Canada

The Bellevue Underground Mine

The Frank Slide was a rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank, Northwest Territories, Canada, on the morning of April 29, 1903. It occurred at 4:10 AM, when over 90 million tons of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain within 100 seconds, obliterating the eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway line and the coal mine. Over 30 million cubic meters of limestone crashed from the summit of Turtle Mountain. The rock mass that fell was 500 feet deep, 1,400 feet high and one kilometer wide. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town's 600 residents were killed, most of whom remain buried. The slide covered three square kilometers of the Crowsnest Valley under a layer of rock more than 100 feet deep. Multiple factors led to the slide. Turtle Mountain's unstable formation left it in a constant state of instability, leading area native tribes to call it "the mountain that moves". Coal mining operations may have weakened the mountain's internal structure, as did a wet winter and cold snap on the night of the slide.
The railway was repaired within three weeks and the mine was quickly reopened. The section of town closest to the mountain was relocated in 1911 amid fears that another slide was possible. The town's population nearly doubled its pre-slide population by 1906, but dwindled after the mine closed permanently in 1917. The community is now part of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass in the province of Alberta and has a population around 200. The site of the disaster remains nearly unchanged since the slide. It has been designated a provincial historic site of Alberta. There is an interpretive centre that receives 100,000+ visitors annually.


 Sparwood, BC is the home of the 350 ton Titan - the World's Largest Dump Truck! The prototype 350 Ton Terex Titan was manufactured by General Motors of Canada. The Titan is, to date, the world's largest tandem axle, rear-dumping hauler ever manufactured (Guinness Book of Records). In 1978 Kaiser Resources brought the truck to Sparwood from California to be used at its coal mine. That Titan arrived by train, on 8 rail flat cars. The truck was reassembled by the side of Highway 3 and then driven to the mine site. The Titan was powered by a 16 cylinder, 3,300 horse power locomotive engine, built by GM's Electromotive Division. The engine was teamed with a generator to deliver power to 4 traction motors located on the rear wheels. The generator was powerful enough to supply power to 250 modern homes.
The Titan is 260 tons with a maximum load of 350 tons and it weighs 610 tons. The box is capable to holding 2 Greyhound buses and 2 pickup trucks. It is 66' long, 25'7" wide and 22'7" to the top of the canopy. The cab is 13' from the ground and with the box lifted the truck is 56' high. The tires on the truck are 11' in diameter and 1 tire weighs 4 tons (8,000 pounds). It takes approximately 28 seconds to raise the box and 30 seconds to lower it. The fuel tank holds 960 gallons and 333 gallons of oil.
The Titan was retired in 1990 as it was no longer efficient to operate.

Fernie is the only municipality in Canada that is fully encircled by the Rocky Mountains. The town was laid out in the crook of a doglegged glacial valley that today is drained by the Elk River. Three tributaries of the Elk—Coal, Lizard, and Fairy Creeks join the Elk in close proximity to the townsite.
To the north of the city lie Mount Fernie, Mount Klauer, The Three Sisters and Mount Proctor. To the northeast is Mount Hosmer, to the east is Fernie Ridge, to the southeast is Morrissey Ridge (and its notable outcropping, Castle Mountain) and to the southwest are the various peaks of the Lizard Range.
 Downtown Fernie, BC with Three Sisters and Mt. Proctor in the background.

Tomorrow is a rest day!

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