The Living Church of God produces the award-winning Tomorrow’s World weekly television series and publishes magazines and other media discussing biblical prophecy and current events. In one article, the Living Church of God reviews what led up to and what should be learned from the natural disaster known as the Frank Slide.
Just beyond the border of Montana, passing slightly into British Columbia, you’ll find little more than a few shrubs and the cold bluish-grey of limestone boulders sparsely dotted across the landscape. Unlike the surrounding regions of densely vegetated forests and rolling hills, though, this area stands out for more than just its barren ruggedness, for here lays the site of the deadliest landslide in Canadian history.
The Living Church of God explains that nearly 120 years ago, the residents of Frank, Alberta – a small coal-mining town set across the backdrop of British Columbia – woke on the morning of April 29, 1903, to the violent rumble and thunderous clap of 110 million tons of limestone rock crashing into their peaceful town.
Within just a minute and forty seconds, the entire northeastern face of nearby Turtle Mountain had collapsed, burying a quarter of the town, along with anything within the surrounding three square kilometers, in nearly 44 million square meters of rock. Were they to remove the remaining rubble, the local municipality could build a standing wall from Victoria to Halifax.
Within that 100-second period, seventy-two were swept away and crushed under the deluge of rock, killing them instantly. Among the identified residents, an untold number of transient workers stationed at the bottom of the mountain were also killed on impact. In total, an estimated 100 innocent people were killed, though the exact death toll is unknown, with bodies still buried under the rocks.
According to the Living Church of God, these tragic deaths could have easily been avoided if the local residents had heeded earlier warnings.
Mountain Rumbles Plagued Frank’s New Beginnings
The Living Church of God reviews that just two years before its tragic destruction, Frank was considered an economic boomtown. In 1901, surveyors had discovered deep veins of coal buried within Turtle Mountain, and within no time, an influx of miners had arrived to dig deep labyrinths of tunnels into the landscape. Yet miners quickly started reporting strange events.
Even just a few weeks before the tragic events of April 29, 1903, one miner by the name of George Hie reported hearing cracking sounds and spotting six-inch timbers of wood splintering and cracking under the pressure of the mountain. Over the following days, the pressure continued to build, killing several men before the mountain face eventually came crashing down.
The Living Church of God explains that other miners at the site reported seeing new movements in the mountain tunnels six months prior to the tragedy, particularly in the early hours of the morning. Had they heeded these signs for the warnings they were, the miners may have saved their families and neighbors.
Warnings Written in Stone
From a geological perspective, Turtle Mountain was an avalanche waiting to happen. Its layered composition of sedimentary rock left behind by a large inland sea produced a mountain of soft, easily shifted sandstone and shale. Paired with its arch-like anticline formation, the mountaintop was literally pulled apart by its own crumbling weight.
The Living Church of God explains that as miners bored tunnels into the great expanse of the mountain, hoping to extract valuable coal, they weakened its protective peak, exposing the mountain to the hazardous Albertan climate. In just a few years, the soft layers of rock eroded away, producing the perfect environment for a sudden collapse. Had the miners understood these geological principles, they would have averted disaster.
Warnings from the Past
If the geology of the mountain weren’t enough to act as a warning to incoming miners, the legends of the First Nations people – both the Kutenai and the Blackfoot – should have been enough. The indigenous peoples of the land had told tales for generations of the “mountain that moves,” with the knowledge that Turtle Mountain was unstable.
Yet, incoming settlers were indifferent to the accounts and knowledge of Canada’s First Nations, and this would contribute to the eventual disaster.
Unusual Weather Hammered the Nail in the Coffin
As the Living Church of God explains, the winter before 1903 was an unusually snowy one for Frank, followed by an unusually warm spring. Within just a few days, the snowcap that peaked the mountain had melted, bringing runoff and sediment down the northeastern side. As more and more melted ice and snow contributed to erosion, the mountain peak couldn’t hold out any longer.
The End Result
A once-prosperous town ignored the warning signs of imminent doom and, on April 29, 1903, they paid the ultimate price. The Living Church of God claims that the world now sits at a similar crossroad, citing biblical prophecies in Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 5 to make the case that an upcoming and sudden calamity will be unprecedented in human history.
The Living Church of God reviews that this catastrophe will result from humanity’s rejection of God’s laws, but the article also states that there will be sanctuary for those who heed God’s warnings and turn away from wickedness, citing 2 Peter 3:9. Advertising its free resource Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning, the Living Church of God invites readers to embrace a biblical lifestyle in anticipation of an imminent change in the worldwide status quo.