Friday, November 20, 2020

Drunk on Glaciology - Park Distillery Vodka Espresso

The next up on the Drunk on Geology series is the Vodka Espresso by the Park Distillery from Banff, Canada.  
Although not geological in name, the image on the bottle, which is the same image on many of the bottles at the distillery, is that of Mount Rundle, a prominent geological landmark within Banff National Park. I had previously done a Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures review of Banff National Park on my other page but I didn't get into Mount Rundle much there so that I could cover it here. 

Here is a close up of the image on the front of the bottle. The mountain is extremely easy to see from the town of Banff, as shown in the picture below. The mountain itself is not glacial in origin, however I have included it in my Drunk on Glaciology portion because of the heavy impact glaciers had on the mountain landscape itself as well as the surrounding region such as the glacially formed U-shaped valleys carved out of the thrust fault valleys described below.

Here is a view of Mount Rundle taken from the Banff Upper Hot Springs facing west. The hot springs actually use water that percolates into the soil from Mount Rundle in the distance. The water initially seeps into the ground in Mount Rundle's high western slopes, then works its way down into the ground through the sedimentary rock layers were it is slowly heated, pressurized, and enriched with local dissolved minerals (including sulphates, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and sodium). After hundreds of years it then rises up towards the surface along the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault until it reaches the surface at one of the several outlets, including this one at the Upper Hot Springs. 

Location of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain in relation to the neighboring thrust faults and the town of Banff. Image modified from Travel Tales of Life

Mount Rundle is located on the south of the town of Banff, mirroring the equally impressive Cascade Mountain on the northern side of Banff. Both mountains are flanked by the Rundle Thrust Fault to the east and the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault to the west. 

Diagram of the formation of Mount Rundle along the thrust fault. Image is shown flipped where the fault should be dipping towards the west (left). Image courtesy of Travel Tales of Life.

The rocks of Mount Rundle were pushed upwards along the thrust from west towards the east, folding along their edge as they went. This thrust produced the westward sloping beds that are so well known along Mount Rundle. These mountains were thrusted up and over the neighboring rocks during the creation of the Canadian Rockies approximately 72 million years ago. 
Geology of Mount Rundle highlighted. Image courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada.
Mr - Mississippian Rundle Limestone; Mb = Mississippi Banff shales; Dp = Devonian Palliser limestone cliffs

Mount Rundle is primarily made up of three geological formations. The Palliser limestone (aka Palliser Formation) is a Late Devonian (~360 million years old) that was deposited along a warm, coastal shelf environment, very similar to the Bahama Banks today. Then above that along the more eroded slopes is the Banff Shale. The Banff Shale (aka Banff Formation) is also a Late Devonian age deposit that was deposited in a sediment rich marine environment. And the top of the mountain is capped with the resistant Rundle limestone. The Rundle Limestone (aka the Rundle Group) is a Mississippian age (~340 million year old) limestone deposited in a marine environment.

Text from the side of the bottle:
"From 100% locally-farmed Alberta grain. Double distilled in our hand-built Kothe copper column still. Steeped with organic espresso beans from the Banff Roasting Company. Just like a rich cup of coffee brewed over an early morning campfire. But with vodka. So even better. 
Vista - Mount Rundle"


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