Following an ancient path through the earth's crust, water as hot as 53.9ºC flows out of springs in a narrow canyon along Sulphur Creek. Heated by geothermal warmth, the Miette Hotsprings are the hottest known springs in the Canadian Rockies.
Miette Hot Springs - Jasper National Park
Each minute approximately 800 litres of steaming water pours out of the natural ducts along the creek. Rich in calcium, sulphate and hydrogen-sulphide (which accounts for the odour of rotten eggs), the water is collected, cooled, chlorinated and filtered, then pumped into the pools of the current aquacourt, opened in 1986. The grand old aquacourt, once adorned with a red peaked roof and magnificent arches, is now a ruin open to the public. Past it a walkway leads up the creek to the source of the springs where nearby boulders weathered from the Miette Reef, an important geological formation, can be spotted. These boulders are generally dark (especially when wet) and embedded with light-grey fossils called blobstromatoporoids.
Located in the front ranges, or the eastern-most mountains in the Rockies, the Miette Hotsprings area tells the geological story of mountain formation. The region was once a shallow seabed that collected layers upon layers of sand and silt for over 300 million years. These flat layers of silt compressed into rock over time and were thrust skyward some 85 million years ago when drifting volcanic islands in the Pacific collided with the west coast of Canada. The twisting and folded layers of rock seen in the area and the near-vertical angle of mountains like Ashlar Ridge, seen from the new aquacourt, are visable examples of the raw power and force of our planet's interior.