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NatureSpeak Articles

Want to learn more about Sea to Sky geology? 

PHOTO CREDIT: STEVE CARNEY. TALL TALES: A selection of Geological learning resources available for the Sea to Sky area.

If you are interested in geology, then you are in the right place. We live in a spectacular, truly world-class geological location.

Many of us have an intimate connection to geology and nature through our daily lives and our love of the outdoors. Geology isn't abstract for us-it is a way of life. Whether it is the cliffs we "drop," the glacial mounds that give us "big air" or the rockfall that has us sitting for hours on Highway 99, geology is intertwined in our everyday life.

So, it was hardly a surprise to see 300 budding "geos" crammed together like basalt columns in the Maury Young Arts Centre to hear Dr. Steve Quane, Professor of Geology at Quest University, give an excellent lecture entitled, "How Volcanoes and Glaciers Shaped Our Land" (available on Whistler Public Library's Facebook page). There was a real buzz, and clearly, there is a thirst for geological knowledge here.

The good news is that our incredible geology has attracted incredible geologists and educators who have generated a fantastic body of work and-with a little bit of digging-you can unearth a veritable smorgasbord of old and new geological media and much of it is free!

Here are a few of my favourites:

Physical Geology (ebook) edited by Steve Earle: If you want a good introductory geology book, with emphasis on examples from Western Canada, especially British Columbia, this free electronic book is the one for you. It covers many aspects of geology, including rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, glaciation, mass wasting and climate change. Download this book for free at

Whistler Naturalists, "NatureSpeak Articles" by Jack Souther: There are lots of geological websites and blog resources out there of varying quality and veracity. I particularly like the posts from the late, great Jack Souther, the eminent geologist and local character who wrote amusing and highly informative articles on diverse local geological topics including, the age of Whistler versus Blackcomb mountains, hexagonal columns in lava, the dangers of Mount Cayley and the geological names of ski runs. Check them out at

Vancouver, City on the Edge-Living with a dynamic geological landscape by John Clague and Bob Turner (ISBN 0-9697601-4-0): This clear and beautifully illustrated book is a favourite of mine and provides a fabulous summary of the geology of our area, from Vancouver to Mount Meager, including earthquakes, volcanoes, the Ice Age, glaciers and landslides.

Sea to Sky GeoTour Geology and Landscapes along Highway 99 From Vancouver to Whistler, British Columbia by Turner, B; Kelman, M; Ulmi, M; Turner, T; and Franklin, R (ISBN 978-0-660-19954-2): If you are interested in exploring the geology along Highway 99, take a look at this great little self-guided booklet and map, which is free to download from the Government of Canada's Natural Resources Canada website ( It contains: location maps; photographs; schematic representations; geoscientific sketch maps; cartoons; cross-sections; and great block diagrams. This will really enrich those depressing trips down to the city.

It won't be long before the snow is cleared and you can get out into the field and explore with your newfound knowledge. I hope to see you out there!

Written By: Steve Carney


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