Artist to celebrate area geology

Winners of a new Wells Gray treasure hunt to get their choice of paintings by Doris Laner as first prize

'Pyramid Bay'

'Pyramid Bay'

Local artist Doris Laner is well known for her startling wilderness ‘mood portraits’. This summer she will harness her talents to bring the beauty and mystique of Wells Gray Park to a wider audience.

Laner is preparing a series of small landscape paintings on the theme of ‘Wells Gray rocks: a celebration of geology in the Clearwater Valley’.

The paintings are being done in support of an upcoming Global Geopark proposal loosely based on Wells Gray: www.therockymountaingoat.com/2014/03/geopark-could-raise-profile-of-wells-gray-robson/.

Laner’s paintings will also help promote a new treasure hunt planned for this summer by the Wells Gray World Heritage Committee. In September, the winner of the treasure hunt will be invited to select one of Laner’s paintings as first prize.

‘Pyramid Bay’, shown here, will go on display at the Wells Gray Information Centre starting in mid May. More paintings will be added as the summer progresses.

“I decided to take this project on,” says Laner, “as a way of giving something back to the Clearwater Valley. I want to show that Wells Gray Park really is a world heritage site – whether UNESCO knows it or not”.

Pyramid Mountain

Pyramid Mountain is a small volcano rising out of the Murtle Plateau in southern Wells Gray. It formed during the retreat of the ice age glaciers about 8,000 to 11,000 years ago.

At the time of its eruption, the ice over the Murtle Plateau was still more than 500 m thick. We know this from analyses of gasses trapped in the volcanic rocks that compose Pyramid.

Pyramid Mountain itself stands only about 250 m high so never made it through the ice. Instead this little volcano erupted entirely within the glacier, confined to a tight cone by the meltwater lake it created.

 

Basaltic lava erupts at a temperature of about 1200 C. Exposure to water causes it to cool suddenly, shattering and hardening it to the consistency of glass. Watch for these shiny rocks next time you hike to the summit for a spectacular view of the park.