Petroleum Geology Open File 2000-3

Geology and Oil and Gas Potential of the Fernie-Elk Valley Area, Southeastern British Columbia
By P. Monahan

PGOF2000-3 (PDF, 1.7MB)

Abstract (PDF, .034MB)

Map 1 (PDF 3.1MB)

Fernie Map 2 (PDF 1.2MB)

Fernie Map 3 (PDF 1.2MB)

Fernie Sections 3-2-1-1a (662KB)

Fernie Section 4 (PDF, 1.9MB)

Fernie Section 5 (PDF, 1.7MB)

Fernie Section 6 (PDF, 945KB)

Fernie Section 7 (PDF, 2.6MB)

Fernie Section 8 (PDF, 3.8MB)

Fernie Section 9 (PDF, 2.0MB)

Frontis (PDF, 1.1MB)

Table 2 (PDF 3.4MB)

Table 3 (PDF 3.6MB)

Table 4 (PDF, 1.3MB)

Table of Formations A (PDF, 64KB)

Table of Formations B (PDF, 60KB)

Table of Formations C (PDF, 55KB)

Table of Formations ABC (PDF, 80KB)
 
The Fernie-Elk Valley area is a geologically complex and relatively unexplored area located in the southern Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. Although no hydrocarbon reserves have been established in this area, several large gas fields have been found in adjacent parts of Alberta, and wells capable of producing significant volumes of CO2 have been drilled immediately to the south in the Flathead area of British Columbia. The Fernie-Elk Valley area is also the most important coal-mining region in the province, and recent attention has been directed to the coalbed methane potential of the area (Johnson and Smith, 1991; Dawson, 1995; Dawson et al., 1998, 2000). The objective of this report is to describe the geology and the oil and gas potential of the area in order to assist future exploration.
 
The area of this investigation comprises approximately 3600 km2 and extends from the mountain range west of the Elk River Valley to the Alberta border. The southern boundary follows the outcrop belt of Jurassic and Triassic strata at the southern margin of the Fernie Basin, between latitude 49o15’N and 49o20’N (North Kootenay Pass Monocline; Map 1). The geology and oil and gas potential of the Flathead area immediately to the south is addressed in a separate report (Monahan, 2000).
 
The Fernie-Elk Valley area is entirely within the Front Ranges of the southern Rocky Mountains (Holland, 1976). Regionally, the Front Ranges are characterized by rugged strike-oriented mountain ranges of resistant Paleozoic carbonates separated by valleys and areas of more subdued topography, generally underlain by less resistant Mesozoic clastics. In the Fernie-Elk Valley area, the principal ranges of the Front Ranges are the Highrock and Flathead Ranges, to the east along the British Columbia-Alberta border, and the western Front Ranges to the west (informal term; Map 1; Cross sections 1, 2 and 3). Peaks in these ranges are commonly between 2500 and 3000m. These ranges are separated by the Fernie Basin, a pear-shaped outlier of Mesozoic strata 110km long and up to 30km wide. Elevations in the Fernie Basin range from 1000 to 1200m in the valley of the Elk River, which flows along the western margin of the basin, to 2100m on strike-oriented ridges. The southern and widest part of the Fernie Basin forms a gently sloping upland above 1500m elevation, and is deeply incised by the Elk and Flathead Rivers and their tributaries. To the north, the Fernie Basin narrows to a strike valley between the Highrock and western Front Ranges.
 
This investigation is based on published reports, industry well data and unpublished reports in the files of the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines. In addition, an unpublished resource assessment by the Geological Survey of Canada (Hannigan et al., 1993) has been particularly helpful. Bedrock geology maps have been prepared for most of the area at scales of between 1:50,000 and 1:126,720 by Leech (1960, 1979), Price (1962a, 1965), Grieve and Price (1985), Grieve (1993), Price et al. (1992a, b) and Norris (1993a).
 
For questions or more information on oil and gas geoscience in British Columbia please contact RDGB@gov.bc.ca.