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 ongoing project is assessing the geothermal potential of the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt in BC’s Southwest Region, building on research stretching back to the mid-1970s. The multi-partner collaborative project is using modern geophysical and geological techniques and concepts.  

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 uses a Geoscience BC compilation of previous public and private research at Mount Meager (a single volcano in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt), to guide new research into the geothermal resource potential of Canada’s preeminent hot spot. The results of this project will be used in development of new geologic, hydrogeologic and structural models for the region, creating greater certainty for geothermal energy exploration

Project Goals

This Energy project fits under Geoscience BC’s Strategic Objective of Enabling Clean Energy and our goal to:

  • Continue geothermal resource mapping and research focussing on economically viable projects and sites with high geothermal energy potential.

Specifically, the project’s goal is:

  • To reduce exploration risk by increasing our knowledge of the controls on rock permeability in the geothermal reservoir underneath Mt. Meager through the application of a range of geoscience tools, including field mapping, remote sensing and magnetotelluric and gravity surveying and passive seismic geophysics. These results will be used to support structural geology, hydrogeology, volcanology and geochemistry studies of the area.

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 have a better understanding of the potential geothermal resource in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt Mount Meager 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.

Mount Meager is an ice-clad volcano situated 160 km north of Vancouver in the centre of the Garibaldi Volcanic belt. Understanding gained in the smaller Mount Meager area can be applied across the wider Garibaldi Volcanic Belt.

What was Found?

This project is ongoing. An extensive seven-chapter report on fieldwork conducted in 2019 is now available (see ‘Deliverables’ section below).

Approximately 2TB of raw data from 2019 fieldwork is expected to be available in April 2021. If you are interested in receiving the raw data when available, please email us at info@geosciencebc.com with the subject ‘Meager Raw Data’.