string(10) "[Minerals]"

Smithers Exploration Group Restoration of the Collection of Cordilleran Rock Suites

Lead Researcher(s):  A. Ledwon

Project ID:  2018-012

Key Research Organization(s):  Smithers Exploration Group Society

Project Location:  Smithers

Strategic Focus Area:  Minerals


This project catalogued, promoted and preserved the existing Smithers Exploration Group’s (SEG) Rock Room – a collection of more than 2,000 rocks from across British Columbia with a focus on the Northwest Region.

Visit the Rock Room home page

The Need

More than half of the money spent on mineral exploration in BC is spent in the northwest and north-central parts of the province. The town of Smithers in northwest BC is a gateway and important support hub. As such, it is the ideal location for the purpose-built SEG Rock Room, which hosts more than 2,000 rock samples from the deposits and geologic units across the province.

Although the extensive collection contains a wealth of geological knowledge, new samples are regularly added to the collection and work is required to catalogue and promote the collection.

Project Goals

This project fits under Geoscience BC’s Strategic Objective of ‘Advancing Science & Innovative Geoscience Technologies’ and the goal to:

  • Support the preservation and curation of significant geological rock suites, core samples, archived government and museum samples, data and other important materials that form reference or historical records to complement efforts of other organizations.

Project Benefits

Access to the complete, curated collection helps inform and train geologists and prospectors; under-graduates and high school students; and local Indigenous groups.  Digitizing samples in the collection is expanding access to the Rock Room online to connect with a wider audience.

Survey Area

The Rock Room is in Smithers, BC with samples from across BC, including Kitimat Stikine Regional District, Bulkley-Nechako Regional District and Fraser Fort George Regional District.

The collection contains samples of various Cordilleran rock suites and examples of ore deposit types from more than 20 ore deposits including Bell Copper, Brucejack and Mount Milligan.

What Was Found

During 2019 and 2020, using funding from Geoscience BC and matching donors, SEG:

  • Increased the size of the collection by accepting and collecting samples from mines, exploration programs and retiring geologists throughout BC.
  • Curated new trays for interesting and important teaching specimens that otherwise did not fit in the catalogued collection.
  • Worked with Below BC on the BC Geological Heritage Project to capture high-definition and 3D digital photographs of Rock Room specimens. These were made available on Below BC’s online interactive map.
  • Developed a self-guided geo-tour of the Babine Lake-Hazelton area, and each stop has corresponding samples available to view in the Rock Room. Developed by Dr. Don MacIntyre, P.Geo., the tour is available for download on the SEG website. A digital tour with notations indicating samples that are available in 3D is available on Below BC’s website.
  • Developed an advanced prospecting course using digital images, physical samples and online technologies. Participated in various BC exploration conferences and presented information about the Rock Room to new audiences.
  • Upgraded the space where the collection is housed, including setting up a microscope and Dino-lite station for detailed investigation, and installing a light box to enhance photography for both the ongoing digital collection and to provide photos to people who are unable to visit.