Garibaldi Geothermal Volcanic Belt Assessment Project

Lead Researcher(s):  S. Grasby

Project ID:  2018-004

Key Research Organization(s):  Geological Survey of Canada

Project Location:  Southwest BC

Strategic Focus Area:  Energy-Geothermal


This regional assessment of the prospective geothermal resource of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt builds on work that started in the mid 1970s, and brings modern geophysical and geological techniques and concepts to improve the understanding of the resource.  

The Need

If geothermal energy resources are to play a significant role in the future Canadian economy, reliable, baseline geoscience information about the depth, temperature and permeability of potential aquifers – and their suitability to generate geothermal heat and power – is necessary. This project will take knowledge from previous research carried out at Mount Meager (see compilation here), a single volcano in the centre of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, and apply it to the larger Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, one of the highest potential geothermal regions of Canada. The results of this project will aid development of new resource models, creating greater certainty for generating national geothermal resource assessments, and reducing geothermal exploration risk in BC.

Project Goals

The overriding objective of this project is to reduce exploration risk by increasing our knowledge of what controls the occurrence of permeable zones at depth in the Garibaldi Belt. With additional funding from NRCan after the first year, Geoscience BC will support academic partners to apply a range of geoscience tools, including remote sensing, geophysics, tectonics, volcanology, and geochemistry, to better understand the controls on rock permeability.

Project Benefits

Geothermal energy has numerous advantages compared to other renewable energy sources, namely in its low environmental footprint and ability to provide a stable baseload-power supply without the need of energy storage solutions. The reliable, baseline geoscience information generated by this project will help First Nations, communities, governments, and geothermal energy producers make informed decisions about the suitability of geothermal aquifers in the Garibaldi area.

Survey Area

The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt is a chain of young (less than 11,000 years old) volcanoes in southwestern BC. It extends north and northwest from Squamish, BC, for approximately 200 kilometers. The region is also known to have abundant thermal springs.

The Details