Valuable BC Rock Collections Digitized for Access and Preservation

Vancouver, BC – June 11, 2019 - Geoscience BC has launched two new projects that will use advanced technologies to photograph, animate and preserve rock, mineral and fossil collections from important sites across British Columbia.

The Below BC Geological Association (Below BC) and the Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) are starting new projects that will catalogue and digitally capture representative rock samples from around BC. Below BC is on the road through the summer visiting museums and mines in southern BC to capture high quality 360° digital images of rock collections, while the SEG Rock Room in Smithers will start cataloguing a collection of 2,000 samples from across BC.

Geoscience BC Vice President, Minerals, Christa Pellett said: “One of our goals is to support the preservation and curation of significant rock collections in BC and make them more accessible. With these two projects, we are taking samples trapped in drawers and boxes and putting them into online, interactive museums for everyone to use and enjoy.”

Below BC’s Access to the Mining Heritage of British Columbia: Bringing Geological Collections to the Masses project is creating a virtual museum of rock, mineral and fossil samples from sites and collections across BC.

“Below BC is excited to have the support of Geoscience BC so that we can continue our quest to make geology and geoscience more accessible for the entire province” said Andy Randell, Executive Director of Below BC. “The work we are doing will increase our capacity to engage with the public and foster interest in BC’s unique and varied geology.”

Below BC’s online resource will also include virtual field trips at key locations across BC, captured using a 360° camera. Along with virtual field trips, Below BC will catalogue and photograph rock collections using a system that allows users to spin and zoom in on samples from all angles.

In Smithers, the Smithers Exploration Group Restoration of the Collection of Cordilleran Rock Suites project will promote, preserve and catalogue the group’s existing 2,000 sample rock collection and eventually create an online map to accompany the physical collection. In 2019 and 2020, the SEG will complement the collection with new samples from additional locations and deposits; promote the collection at conferences; and preserve it both online and at the ‘Rock Room’.

SEG Rock Room Administrator, Anastasia Ledwon said: “The current collection contains samples of various Cordilleran rock suites and examples of ore deposits from more than 20 mines including Mount Milligan, Bell Copper and BC’s newest gold mine, Brucejack. With Geoscience BC’s support we are able to preserve this collection so that geologists can continue to compare known rock types and deposits to their own projects.”

About Below BC

Below BC is a non-profit society created in 2015 on a quest to bring geology and the broader earth sciences alive for the public through education and a variety of media.

It is a group of professional rock-hounds and storytellers sharing a love of geology and the earth sciences in a way that will encourage the public and inspire them to step outside, into our amazing province, and learn what is under the ground we walk on. Learn more

Chalcopyrite Vein - from Smithers Exploration Group Rock Room

About Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) Rock Room

You can find out more about the SEG Rock Room here.

Accessing Information

Visit the project pages below for more information.

View 2018-026 project page View 2018-012 project page

About Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC generates independent, public geoscience research and data about British Columbia’s minerals, energy and water resources. This advances knowledge, informs responsible development, encourages investment and stimulates innovation.

Our collaboration with the resource sectors, academia, communities, Indigenous groups and government develops and shares unbiased and credible earth science research and data. Geoscience BC is a not for profit society incorporated under the BC Societies Act.

Visit or follow us @GeoscienceBC to find out more.

For more information, please contact:

Richard Truman
Geoscience BC