Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences Special Issue on "New Insights in Cordilleran Intermontane Geoscience: Reducing Exploration Risk in the Mountain Pine Beetle-Affected Area of British Columbia"

July 11, 2011 -The June issue of Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences is a Special Issue which presents a summary of geoscience research and investigations arising from multi-agency funding designed to address the negative economic impacts of the current mountain pine beetle infestation. The infestation was most intense within British Columbia's southern Intermontane region and has had a devastating effect on local economies which rely heavily on the forest industry.

Recognizing the important role that mining and petroleum exploration could play in diversifying these local economies, federal, provincial, and not-for-profit agencies designed a program of research funding to address gaps in the local geoscience knowledge base and to stimulate industry exploration in the region. Funding agencies also initiated a dialogue with local First Nations communities to share information and concerns about resource development issues. The Geoscience for Mountain Pine Beetle programs were cooperatively led by Geological Survey of Canada, Geoscience BC, and the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines, each drawing on their area of experience and expertise. Geoscience program components included using geophysics to see through the locally extensive cover of volcanic and glacial deposits, as well as augmenting the existing regional geoscience knowledge base with new baseline geology, mineral deposits, and geochemistry data.

As part of the multi-agency initiative:

  • more than 11,000 km2 of new aeromagnetic data were acquired;
  • more than 11,000 line km of airborne gravity data that were acquired;
  • 300 km of land magnetotelluric data were acquired;
  • 1020 km of 1980s-vintage seismic data were purchased and reprocessed;
  • 330 km of new seismic reflection data were acquired;
  • 3000 km2 of new 1:50,000 scale geological mapping and 2,000 km2 surficial mapping and till geochemistry studies were undertaken;
  • more than 10 new mineral occurrences were discovered, and detailed mineral deposit studies and mapping of the Mt. Polley and Iron Mask batholith were undertaken;
  • 171 new Rock-Eval and 71 new vitrinite reflectance analyses were undertaken;
  • 48 new radiometric dates and 115 new paleontologic dates were obtained;
  • a new 1:400,000-scale compilation of the Nechako Basin was produced.

Most of these maps, databases, and reports are now available free of charge from agency web sites.

The Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences Special Issue contains 14 papers by 41 authors which synthesize a wide array of these geoscience data to produce new models of surface geology and crustal structure which will enhance base-metal and petroleum exploration efforts in central British Columbia and elsewhere.

Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC is an industry-led, industry-focused not-for-profit society. Its mandate includes the collection, interpretation and marketing of geoscience data and expertise to promote investment in resource exploration and development in British Columbia. Geoscience BC is funded through grants from the Provincial Government and works in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities to attract mineral and oil & gas investment to BC.