Geography 3850B | The Palliser Triangle: A Region in Space & Time

René Barendregt | Office Hours: Tues/Thurs 10-4) Room WE-2054, email:

Lecture: Fall 2019 MWF  13:00-13:50 in C756
Contact hrs. per week: 3-0-0
Other hours: 0-0-32  [Four (4) Saturday field trips, of which any 2 are required]
Recommended background: One of: Geography 1000, Agricultural Studies 1000, Geography 2030, Geography 2600, or Geology 2060, or permission of instructor.
Lecture materials and digital copies of selected readings will be provided via Moodle

Course Description:

A survey of the Physical, Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Resources of the Palliser Triangle Region of Western Canada. Topics will include: a definition of the Palliser Triangle region, providing a brief historic and socio-economic overview of its settlement and development; climate and paleoclimate of the region, including evidence for substantial climatic variability throughout the Holocene (dendrochronology, palaeolimnology of saline and hypersaline lakes, aeolian activity); bedrock and surficial geology and associated resources (hydrocarbons, evaporites, surface and groundwaters); soils and land use, including adaptive strategies used in the past and present to cope with drought (changing farming practices over time, and the role of irrigation and agricultural research in western Canada).

The course will provide an opportunity for students to visit field sites. Four Saturday field trips will be offered and will highlight the importance of microclimates, soil and landscape variability, the diversity of landforms found within the region (including a visit to the Dry Belt of Palliser Triangle) and a sampling of farm types and agricultural industries. Students must attend at least two Saturday field trips and complete a report of the field sites visited. Students are free to participate in all four field trips, and to select which trips form the basis for their 2 required field reports. Students may choose to work in pairs for both the field report and term paper assignments. I will provide in-class assistance in the write-up of the field reports.