While the bitter cold temperatures have a strong hold on grumpy old Larry Limestone at Mount Rundle, he slowly dozes off. His dreams take him back in time––deep time, about 340 million years ago. “Life was so much more fun in the Mississippian time.” Larry smiles gently following his memories. “This place used to be tropical warm, no mountains, just sunshine and the warm ocean waters.”
Back then, Banff was under water. No land as far as you can see (see picture). Only a vast ocean that extended endlessly to the west. British Columbia was not invented, and Alberta was under the shallow waters of the North American continental shelf. “The equator was just south of us.” Larry remembers thinking of the many creatures that lived in the clear ocean waters. “I liked the elegant sea lilies the most. They smoothly moved with the waters and were the prettiest things I have ever seen”
And there it was where Larry Limestone formed. At the bottom of the shelf sea. All sorts of life were there, and billions of small creatures were swimming in the waters. Eventually, all their large and small shells and skeletons would gather on the seabed. “It was like a constant snowing of bits and pieces onto my face.” He realized the similarity to the winters now. “But only that these pieces accumulated tens or hundreds of meter thick layers over millions of years.” Over these years, the sunlight disappeared from Larry’s sight as he got buried deeper below the growing rock layers above him. “But it was always nice and warm inside Earth.” He grumbles, still annoyed that he ended up at this freezing rock cliff today.