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Open File 2019-02: Preliminary geology of Notch Peak and Ogden Creek (parts of NTS 094C/04 and093N/13), northern Hogem batholith, Quesnel terrane, north-central British Columbia

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Open File 2019-02

New bedrock mapping in parts of NTS 94C/04 (Notch Peak) and 93N/13 (Ogden Creek) refines the distribution and relationships of plutonic rocks in northern Hogem batholith. The eastern part of the study area is mostly underlain by diorite and lesser hornblendite of the Thane Creek suite. The southern part of the study area is underlain by Duckling Creek suite syenite and monzonite, with enclaves of pyroxenite (ca. 180 Ma). The western part of the study area is underlain by foliated granites assigned to the Mesilinka suite (Jurassic to Cretaceous?). In the central part of the study area, the Osilinka suite granite is characterized by its low content of mafic minerals (≤ 5%). Previously documented metallic mineralization is recorded in ca. 34 MINFILE occurrences. During bedrock mapping, 17 new mineral occurrences were discovered.
For more detailed unit description see Ootes et al., BCGS Paper 2019-01, pp. 31-53.


Open File 2019-03: British Columbia surficial geology map index

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Open File 2019-03

Presented here is a surficial geology map index for British Columbia. These maps have been produced by the British Columbia Geological Survey, the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC), and Geoscience BC. To be included in this index maps have to be available for digital download. Each map is represented by the actual map extent or footprint rather than a bounding box or NTS sheet that it falls within. This provides an accurate representation of the areal extent of surficial geology mapping for British Columbia.
The index is presented by map scale. In the digital versions of this index advanced searches can also be conducted on fields such as source author, source type (data available in digital or PDF form), or source series (Preliminary maps to A Series or Geoscience maps) to name a few. Publication page URLs are supplied for each map where the source files, PDFs or digital data can be downloaded. Also included is supplemental information which, when applicable, states where data are originally from and/or have elsewhere been used. Instances of this would be when an author published a map which was then revised and published as a GSC A Series map or when a map was used in a subsequent compilation. When this has occurred not only are the publication numbers provided for these other maps but links to their publication pages as well. This enables users to see all sources of the same data. In some cases original mapping is only available as a PDF but a subsequent map or compilation has made it available as an attributed vector file (e.g., shapefile).


Open File 2019-04: Regional- to property-scale till geochemical and mineralogical surveys in British Columbia for base and precious metals

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Open File 2019-04

This map indexes geographically referenced, regional- and property-scale till geochemical and mineralogical surveys that use subglacial tills to target base and precious metals in British Columbia. Regional-scale surveys are listed by NTS; property-scale reports by presumed deposit type. Also included are lists of topical studies relevant to drift prospecting in the province and elsewhere.

The index is presented area in square kilometres. In the digital versions of this index advanced searches can also be conducted on fields such as source author, source type (data available in digital or PDF form), or source series to name a few. Publication page URLs are supplied for each survey where the source files, PDFs or digital data can be downloaded. Also included is supplemental information which, when applicable, states where data are originally from and/or have elsewhere been used. When this has occurred not only is the publication information provided for the other surveys but links to their publication pages as well. This enables users to see all sources of the same data.


Open File 2019-05: Preliminary bedrock geology of the Latham and Pallen Creek area

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Open File 2019-05

The Latham and Pallen creek area, including parts of NTS sheets 104I/04, 05, 104J/01 and 08, is southwest of the community of Dease Lake in northwestern British Columbia. The oldest units in the map area are penetratively deformed meta-sedimentary and volcanic rocks and limestones of the Stikine assemblage (upper Paleozoic). These rocks are overlain (likely unconformably) by a volcano-sedimentary sequence informally referred to as the Tsaybahe group (Lower-Middle Triassic), which is succeeded by the Stuhini Group (Upper Triassic). We subdivide the Tsaybahe group into a sedimentary unit of fine-grained siliciclastic rocks and minor chert, and a volcanic unit of monomictic tuff breccia with plagioclase-augite-phyric volcanic clasts. Tsaybahe volcanic rocks appear texturally similar to the overlying Stuhini Group, but are separated based on their stratigraphic position atop of the Stikine assemblage, rare Early to Middle Triassic biostratigraphic ages, low magnetic susceptibility, and low response on regional aeromagnetic surveys. Stuhini Group volcanic rocks include massive monomictic tuff breccia and lapilli-tuff with augite-plagioclase-phyric volcanic clasts, have a high magnetic susceptibility, and display a high and variable response on regional aeromagnetic surveys. Triassic and older stratified rocks are cut by Late Triassic stocks and plutons ranging from ultramafic to gabbro, hornblende-rich quartz diorite and hornblende quartz monzonite in composition. Triassic units generally lack penetrative tectonic fabrics and are deformed into map-scale open folds. An outlier of volcano-sedimentary rocks assigned to the upper part of the Hazelton Group is inferred to unconformably overlie the Triassic rocks. The succession (~500 m thick) includes two sedimentary units that are overlain by a maroon volcanic unit, which is capped by a felsic volcanic unit. Based on lithological and stratigraphic criteria, the sedimentary units are assigned to the Spatsizi Formation and the volcanic units to the Horn Mountain Formation. Three Middle Jurassic plutons are exposed in the area, ranging in composition from biotite-hornblende quartz diorite to biotite monzogranite. Developed within or adjacent to these plutons are zones of alteration and mineralization containing locally elevated copper, gold, silver and/or molybdenum in fractures, veins, skarns, and gossans.

Augite-phyric mafic volcanic units in each of the Tsaybahe group, Stuhini Group, and Horn Mountain Formation, although temporally distinct, are texturally similar. Compared to widespread exposures of mafic volcanic rocks of the Stuhini Group in northern Stikinia, occurrences of the Tsaybahe group and its correlatives are rare. However, owing to a lack of age constraints, we consider that Tsaybahe group exposures may have been included in the Stuhini Group and suggest that the unit is more extensive than currently recognized. The Tsaybahe group may represent nascent Middle Triassic arc volcanism before widespread Upper Triassic Stuhini arc activity.

The Open File release includes a digital GIS compilation for an approximately 3,900 km2 area southwest, south, southeast and east of Dease Lake covered by van Straaten et al. (2012), van Straaten et al. (2017), van Straaten and Bichlmaier (2018) and this study.


GeoFile 2019-05: Potential recovery of Ca, K, Mg, Br, I, B, and Li form produced water at oil and gas fields, British Columbia

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G.J. Simandl, C. Akam, M. Yakimoski, D. Richardson, A. Teucher, Y. Cui, S. Paradis, S. McPhail, and F. Ferri

Produced waters are a co-product of hydrocarbon extraction from conventional and unconventional fields. Treatment and disposal of these waters present a significant cost to the oil and gas industry. However, produced waters may contain non-negligible concentrations of Cl, Na, Ca, K, Sr, Mg, Br, Ba, Fe, I, B, Mn, Li, and other potentially recoverable elements.
Most elements discussed in this study are considered specialty metals (e.g., Li and Mg), industrial minerals (e.g., B, Br, and I), or starting materials for ‘synthetic’ industrial minerals (e.g., precipitated calcium carbonate). Lithium exploration and development projects worldwide currently benefit from a bullish outlook for the battery-grade portion of the Li market. Virtually every site in the Alberta portion of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin with reported Li concentrations equal to or greater than 50 mg/l is claimed. Only five samples of produced waters analysed for Li in British Columbia are currently in public domain; one of which contains 54 mg/l Li. 
The quality of produced water analyses is commonly questioned due to analytical problems or contamination by mud filtrate, completion fluids, or corrosion inhibitors. Automated data culling may be beneficial for treatment of data as it removes spurious analyses, although it may eliminate valuable data for elements not affected by contaminants.
This study is a first step toward identifying areas with anomalous concentrations of elements in produced waters. More work is needed to confirm our findings and determine which, if any, of the discussed elements can be extracted and marketed to offset the cost of treatment and disposal of produced waters. 

View GeoFile 2​019-05 (PDF, 7 MB)


GeoFile 2019-06: Primary fersmite and the direct indicator mineral concept, Mount Brussilof, British Columbia

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G.J. Simandl, J.A. Petrus, M.I. Leybourne, S, Paradis, and C. Akam

Fersmite ([Ca,Ce,Na][Nb,Ta,Ti] [O,OH,F] ), an important Nb ore mineral, occurs commonly as a metamict alteration product of pre-existing niobate minerals in carbonatites, alkaline and peralkaline intrusions, and rare element pegmatites. Well-crystalized fersmite is found in 'alpine clefts' (open joints, vugs, and cavities partially filled with well-crystallized minerals) formed during metamorphism and uplift. 
At the Mount Brussilof (MB) magnesite deposit, 40 km northeast of Invermere, British Columbia, coarse fersmite crystals are in in vugs within sparry dolomite, which cross-cuts sparry magnesite. It occurs as accessory, black, acicular to platy, strongly-zoned crystals up to 2 cm long or as smaller crystals (< 3 mm) commonly fractured and cut by late dolomite. 
The MB fersmite is characterized by strongly-zoned, euhedral crystals growing on the walls of cavities or enclosed in a dolomite matrix. It shares similarities with niobate mineral occurrences reported in ‘alpine clefts’ and it differs texturally from fersmite observed in carbonatite-related Nb mineralization. Zoning in the MB fersmite crystals probably reflects variations in the composition of fluids from which they formed. The higher concentrations of LREE in fersmite from Aley carbonatite relative to the MB fersmite may reflect differences in concentrations of LREE in these fundamentally distinct fersmite-forming systems. Fersmite can be successfully used to complement minerals of the pyrochlore supergroup and minerals of the columbite-tantalite solid solution series as a direct indicator mineral in exploration for carbonatite-, pegmatite-, and alpine cleft-related mineral occurrences. 

View GeoFile 2​019-06 (PDF, 12.6 MB)


GeoFile 2019-07: Geochemistry of the Rock Canyon Creek RE-F-Ba deposit, British Columbia

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G.J. Simandl, Y. Kon, S. Paradis, M. Hoshino, C. Akam, D. Miller, D. Araoka, and S. Kodama

The Rock Canyon Creek carbonate-hosted REE-F-B deposit is 90 km northeast of Cranbrook on the eastern flank of the Canadian Cordillera. It has tectonic, stratigraphic, and structural similarities with Mississippi Valley-type and sparry magnesite deposits in the southeast Rocky Mountains. 
The main REE-fluorite zone is a steeply dipping tabular body or set of lenses extending more than 1100 m along strike, at least 50 m wide, and at least 100 m deep. It coincides with a crackle breccia in carbonate rocks. Fluorite concentrations vary from less than 1% to 13.5% by weight, and REE+Y concentrations vary from trace to 2%. The mineralized zone consists of dolomite, fluorite, barite, pyrite, quartz, K-feldspar, calcite, porous apatite, REE-fluorocarbonates, and REE-phosphates. The main fluorocarbonates are bastnäsite, parisite, and synchysite. Monazite and crandallite group minerals consisting mainly of Al, Ca, Sr, and lesser proportions of La, Ce, Nd, S, and F are the main phosphates. 
Three-dimensional modeling of the deposit suggests possible co-variation between Ba, F, and La, and between La and Nd. Chondrite-normalized REE pattern of fluorite from the mineralized zone shows higher LREE content and differs from that of fluorite associated with prosopite in transported boulders, and from distal fluorite (850 m from the main mineralized zone). Detailed studies of mineral paragenesis and chemical and isotopic compositions of minerals are underway to elucidate the timing of mineralization and the origin of ore-forming fluids.

View GeoFile 2​019-07 (PDF, 10.3 MB)


GeoFile 2019-08: Are Cordilleran carbonatite hosts of Ta, Nb and REE from the deep mantle?

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A.S. Rukhlov, L.B. Aspler, and J. Gabites

Important targets for Ta, Nb, and REE exploration, carbonatites and related rocks in the Canadian Cordillera were emplaced at ca. 810-700, 500, and 360-330 Ma, forming part of the British Columbia alkaline province. The most prolific Late Paleozoic carbonatites, including Aley and Upper Fir hosts of Nb-Ta deposits, are unusual. In contrast to the ca. 810-700 and ca. 500 Ma carbonatites, which mark breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia and passive margin development on the western flank of Laurentia, and to most carbonatites globally, which are found in intracratonic regions in association with large igneous provinces, the 360-330 Ma carbonatites formed near the continental margin during subduction taking place immediately to the west. We combine our findings from Blue River carbonatites with the new C-O-Sr-Pb-Nd isotopic analyses of separated carbonates from the ca. 810 Ma Perry River and ca. 360-330 Ma Aley, Ice River, Mount Grace, and Wicheeda Lake carbonatites to investigate their metallogeny. Most carbonatites, including the Ta-Nb deposits of the Blue River area, have primary mantle C-O isotopic signatures, whereas those of REE-rich carbonatites from Wicheeda Lake and Ice River dike, and literature data from Aley suggest carbohydrothermal fluid exchange with the host limestones. The available isotopic data, in conjunction with the geological, paleogeographic, and geophysical evidence, indicate that Cordilleran carbonatites were derived from a long-lived, deep-level mantle plume that was tapped episodically since the Neoproterozoic.

View GeoFile 2​019-08 (PDF, 60 MB)


GeoFile 2019-09: Toward international geoscience standards and interoperable web services for British Columbia geology and mineral resources

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Y. Cui, L.J. Diakow, and D. Miller

The British Columbia Geological Survey (BCGS) is implementing the international geoscience standard GeoSciML and its extension EarthResourceML, to deliver geoscience data products and to develop interoperable geospatial web services compliant with these standards. As a first step, the bedrock geology map of the province is available in the Web Map Service (WMS) interface, using vocabularies adopted by the IUGS Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (CGI). We also have mineral occurrences from our MINFILE database available as WMS, compliant to EarthResourceML Lite, with details converted to the CGI vocabularies. Our next step is to make these data available on OneGeology, the portal for worldwide geoscience data. Our current geology and mineral occurrence data are maintained using BCGS specifications in data collection, compilation, and data production, and will continue to be accessible through MapPlace 2, the Survey's geospatial web service. However, it will take significant effort and time to have our data, specifications, and web services fully compliant with the international geoscience standards. We take this as an opportunity to update our data models and specifications, to produce consistent data with standardized classification systems and terminology, and to eventually enable interoperation in data sharing, data exchange, and data integration.

View GeoFile 2​019-09 (PDF, 28 MB)

Upcoming events


GAC-MAC-IAH / CNC Conference - Where geosciences converge - Quebec City, QC: May 12 - 15, 2019

Three geological provinces converge toward Québec City: the Grenville, the St. Lawrence platform and the Appalachians. Three geoscientific associations have converged their efforts to organize the GAC-MAC-IAH Québec 2019 conference. In May 2019, Canadian and international geoscientists will also converge toward Québec city to be part of it.  Fore more information or to register click here.

Please join staff from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the British Columbia Geological Survey.

Current projects

Luke Ootes and Dejan Milidragovic are starting a multi-year mapping project in north-central British Columbia that will update the bedrock geology of the northern part of the Hogem batholith and the area to the west. The mapping area is largely contained in Quesnel terrane, but includes the contentious contacts between Quesnel, Stikine, and Cache Creek terranes. As part of a complementary study under the auspices of the Natural Resources Canada’s TGI-5 program, and in collaboration with UBC, the team will also produce a detailed geological map of the Polaris ultramafic complex, BC’s best exposed Alaskan-type intrusion. The 2017-2018 mapping team will also consist of 2 senior and 4 junior field assistants.

The Nicola stratigraphic framework project, initiated in 2015, is a multi-year field-based program to establish a regional-scale stratigraphy for the Nicola Group (Triassic), the principal volcano-sedimentary component of the Quesnel arc terrane in south-central British Columbia. This stratigraphic framework, combined with space-time-composition patterns of associated plutons, will contribute to a better understanding of the architecture of the arc, and improve the geologic framework within which to interpret the settings and controls of mineral occurrences. The main study area encompasses about 15,000 km2 between Bridge Lake and the Quesnel River, covering parts of the Quesnel and Shuswap highlands and Fraser Plateau, within the traditional territories of the Secwepemc, Esk’etemc, Tsilhqot’in, and Lhtako Dené First Nations. The 2018 field program, the final for this project, was carried out by a two-person crew lead by Paul Schiarizza, and was based near the town of Likely in the northwest corner of the study area. Much of the effort was devoted to refining the understanding of a Middle Triassic back-arc basin succession near Spanish Lake and to the east of Horsefly, but younger parts of the group, near Likely, 100 Mile House, and Bridge Lake, were also studied. Results will be published in Geological Fieldwork 2018, to be released in late January, 2019.

Nicola stratigraphic framework project


Current annual publications

Provincial overview of exploration and mining in British Columbia, 2018Geological Fieldwork 2018

British Columbia Coal industry overview, 2018Operating mines and selected exploration projects in British Columbia, 2018