September 2006 ISSUE


How Climate Change Shaped the Rockies

In 1999 the APEGGA Education Foundation Gave Financial Help  for a Book Project of the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation


Climate Change and Landscape
In the Canadian Rockies
By Dr. Nat Rutter, OC, P.Geol.,
Murray Coppold, P.Geol.,
& Dr. Dean Rokosh, Geol.I.T.
The Burgess Shale
Geoscience Foundation

With the words climate change in the title, you might think this book chimes in on the current debate about the extent and causes of climate change, carbon dioxide emission targets and the like. But Climate Change and Landscape in the Canadian Rockies has a different, although related, mission.

The book is based on the undisputed fact that regardless of what causes climate change, it’s had a profound and visible effect on the landscape. That’s been going on since Earth was born — and the evidence can be seen, touched and studied in our own Rocky Mountains.

Written by a trio of APEGGA members, the book explains landscape and climate change for teachers, students and other lay people. “We’ve taken complex science and put it into a popular form,” says Dr. Nat Rutter, OC, P.Geol., a university professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and a founding member of the Burgess Shale Foundation.

Dr. Rutter wants APEGGA members to hear about the book’s publication, in part because a seed donation of $10,000 from the APEGGA Education Foundation back in 1999 helped bring it to fruition. The Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists donated $12,000 for printing and is considering giving every high school library in Canada a copy.

The book matches the mandate of its publisher, the Burgess Shale Geosciences Foundation, to help teach the public about geoscience. And it’s the kind of outreach that APEGGA believes in as well.
Dr. Rutter, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was joined in writing the book by longtime Burgess Shale Foundation volunteer Murray Coppold, P.Geol., and Dr. Dean Rokosh, E.I.T. Mr. Coppold brought almost three decades of field experience in exploration to the project. Dr. Rokosh, meanwhile, is a climate studies expert and a geologist with the Geological Survey of Alberta.

The Rockies, says Dr. Rutter, are the perfect source material. “The Rockies are there for people to experience. They can follow the road log we’ve published in the book. They can see this stuff.”
The writers say in their preface: “We hope this book will help the readers appreciate the difficult task that scientists have in trying to decipher Earth history and predict its future. Only through an understanding of Earth history will we be able to manage intelligently our effect on the environment and predict and adjust to future climate change.”

In 137 pages of text, charts, graphs and photos, the book covers glaciers, ice ages, dating, records, plate tectonics and much, much more.

The book should help readers “see beyond the scenery,” say the authors, to develop an appreciation of the evolution of Earth landforms and the dynamic processes — controlled primarily by climate change — that brought them about.

Climate Change and Landscape in the Canadian Rockies is available at numerous outlets, among them the U of A Bookstore, Audreys Books, Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe, and the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton; the CSPG Bookstore in Calgary; the Banff Book and Art Den; Café Books and the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre in Canmore; Woodruff and Blum Booksellers in Lake Louise; the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller; and the Friends of Yoho Bookstore in Field, B.C.

More info

Dr. Nat Rutter, P.Geol.