The River That Runs Red

A lucky photographer captured the image of a lifetime – shooting the incredibly rare moment a waterfall turned tomato soup red.

Rochelle Coffey was stunned when she saw the normally crystal-clear water turn deep red over the course of two hours.

The mother-of-two had been visiting the impressive Cameron Falls, in Alberta, Canada, with her husband and had taken photos of the normally clear water for six years.

The River That Runs Red

However, on her last trip she could not believe her luck as she saw the water change colour and witnessed a naturally-occurring phenomenon.

Rochelle and her husband had driven to Cameron Creek, which runs into the falls, following a heavy storm and were shocked to see it was a deep shade of red.

They hurried to the waterfall but the water had not reached it yet.

The River That Runs Red

After waiting for two hours the couple were rewarded with the extraordinary sight of the red water gushing over the rocks, something never seen to that extent by locals before.

The phenomenom was caused by the high levels of rain washing a red coloured sediment called argolite from the rocks and into the water.

Waterton Lakes, where the falls are located, has some of the oldest sedimentary rock in the Canadian Rockies, with stone dated from 1,500 million years ago.

Rochelle said: ‘Earlier in the day there was a very heavy rain fall, which isn’t uncommon, but the conditions must have been just right to bring down that much sediment.

The River That Runs Red

‘We decided to go for a drive and see just how much damage the storm had caused.

‘We make that drive hundreds of times a year and we had always seen this crystal clear water.

‘But this particular evening, I was shocked to see the creek tomato soup red. My husband suggested we go back down and check the falls.

The River That Runs Red

‘At this time, the falls were still clear. It took a couple hours for the sediment to reach the falls, and when the falls did finally turn red, it was a lot slower a process than we had anticipated.

‘Another photographer waited beside us, but had to leave before the water turned colour. He missed the shot of a lifetime.

‘The ironic thing is, I don’t shoot a lot of scenery, and this truly was being in the right place at the right time.’

Leave Your Comments