What is a Coulee?

One of the great things about living in Donalda is the beautiful nature around you.

Donalda Diary

One of the great things about living in Donalda is the beautiful nature around you. Situated on the edge of the Meeting Creek Coulee, the Donalda & District Museum has a “peek-a-boo” view from the manager’s desk of the always- changing scene. The window provides a glimpse of the coulee, an extension of the badlands associated with southern Alberta.

I have often wondered about the term coulee which is not common in British Columbia, where I am from, but is very common in Alberta. Where does the word come from? Coulee is a French-Canadian term the past participle of couler, meaning “to flow,” that applies rather loosely to a valley or drainage.

The term is often applied to canyons or valleys characterized by steep sides that have been shaped by water erosion. Everyone has heard of the Grand Coulee in Washington State which is a steepwalled, wide canyon. On a much smaller scale, erosion has also formed the Meeting Creek Coulee.

The most likely cause of the formation of coulees, such as the Meeting Creek and the Battle River coulees, was the melting of glaciers at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age 20,000 years ago. The meltwater resulted in massive down-cutting, forming deep channels. Where there is little vegetation, the erosion has exposed the sedimentary rocks that here and there contain the fossilized remains of dinosaurs and other creatures which lived in what is now Alberta over 65 million years ago.

Coulees in Alberta commonly contain small streams or lakes, the remnants of large rivers that once flowed across the landscape.

Come see the Meeting Creek Coulee at Donalda and step back in time.

Birthday greetings this week include: Chad Laye, Gary Sutton, Cianne Andres, Dallas Blouin, Linda Jones, Ty Olson, Cayden Andres, Dakota Murphy, Francesca Schoettler, Jayden Yaromy, Alanna Nims, Celeste Awe, Dave Viske, and Tasha Jaffray. Happy Birthday! And to anyone we may have missed!

 

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