Landforms of Alberta



Dinosaur information page

Palaeontologist and Digging in Alberta

The Royal Tyrrell Museum


Alberta is home to many different landforms and features. Some of these are the Plains, the Rocky Mountains, hoodoos/Badlands, and the oilsands.


To view a short movie clip showing Alberta's geography and also fossils found in the area click here

To get to know these landforms better and to participate in an activity, take a look at each landform indepth below!


The Plains

The plains, or grasslands are located in the Southeast corner of Alberta and comprise 14% or 30 million acres of Alberta's total natural landscape.

The area is flat, with gently rolling plains and has a few major hill systems. The plains are sometimes dotted with erratics (rocks left behind millions of years ago by glaciers)

The plains area of Alberta is part of the Great Plains that stretch all the way from the Gulf of Mexico north to Canada.


Hoodoos are landforms which were made by water and wind erosion. The hoodoos located in Drumheller, and Milk River, Alberta are made of sandstone.


A hoodoo is made up of layers of rock. At the top of a hoodoo is a feature called the caprock. This caprock is usually harder and protects the soft sandstone underneath it from erosion.

To read a traveller's blog about Alberta, click here

The Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains are located on the Western border of Alberta. These mountains were caused by uplifting of the Earth's crust. The Rockies in Alberta are home to some of the province's greatest tourist attractions such as Waterton Lakes National Park, Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper National Park.

The Oil Sands

The Alberta oilsands are a relatively new concept to Alberta's landscape. Oilsands are simply dirt that is saturated with oil. This oil is in high demand and can be used and shipped all around the world. The Alberta's oilsands are known as "Canada's greatest buried energy treasure!" Its oil reserves are the second largest in the world next to Saudi Arabia! The oilsands are located in Northeast Alberta and the biggest is the Athabasca deposit, followed by the Peace River and Cold Lake deposits. The oilsands are also a big source of controversy because many people feel it is a great pollutant and also lots of the mines are located on Aboriginal and sacred land. The oilsand industry is booming however and provide lots of people with jobs.

To watch an interesting video on Alberta's oilsands click here

A fun and interesting activity about Alberta's oilsands can be found and printed off here

Alberta's Landforms Activity


 Each of these landforms are located within the province of Alberta. For an activity, have students labels and colour on a map of Alberta where these landforms can be found. Include major cities or parks that are located nearby as well. Students can also look at one particular landform indepthly and research information or make a collage of pictures showing the landform. Below is a map to help students get started on their map.



 For an extended activity on oilsands and also to generate student interest in technology there is a podcast about oil markets and issues around the world found here

For a specific insider's podcast about venturing to Canada click here