Today I went on a beautiful, but short hike in British Columbia. It is a one kilometer hike, but is one of the most unique sceneries I’ve seen in my life. The Indian’s used to travel here to obtain the “red earth”. The yellow ochre was cleaning, kneaded with water into walnut-sized balls and flattened into cakes. The cakes were then baked in a fire, then ground into a powder. The red powder was then mixed with fish oil or animal grease and used in painting bodies, teepees, clothing, and pictures on rocks.
The paint pots resulted from the accumulation of iron oxide or hydroxide around the rim of a pool. As the rim grew, the pool got deeper. The increased pressure of water in the pool became greater than the force of the water in the spring, causing the spring to seek a new outlet. When this happened, the pot eventually dried up, forming a choked cone.
Mining of iron oxide was attempted in the 1920’s, but was not considered viable due to economic and ecological reasons.