Where do you look for Rocks and Minerals in BC?


By David Cook


Lower Mainland
The varied geology of the Lower Mainland offers many different rocks. From the low beaches to the mountain tops, rock hunters can find a wide range of interesting finds.


Kamloops
Once covered by water, Kamloops is a premier rockhounding location with fossils and minerals such as gold, opals, agates, zeolites, geodes and many other precious gemstones strewn throughout the region. The McAbee Fossil Beds (which was once a shallow lake, 50 million years ago), Savona Caves and Painted Bluffs Provincial Park are places to check out. Guided local tours are available and are recommended for novices.

Vancouver Island
Some of the best rockhounding in British Columbia is to be found on Victoria Island due to its abundance of beaches and unique geological locales with fossils and spectacular caves. The beaches are some of the best locations to find rocks - especially as vicious winter storms toss interesting rocks onto the shores throughout the year which are easy to find.

Varieties of rocks such as porphyries, dallasite and rhodonite can be found on the Island. There are shops that can be visited to find supplies and resources to help you find interesting rocks such as maps, books and tools. Good sites are Englishman River Falls near Parksville; Petroglyph Park and the Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park near Nanaimo; the Gulf Islands of Saltspring, Saturna and Hornby Islands; near old mines on Vancouver Island.

Where you can learn about rockhounding, rocks and minerals:
1.     The British Columbia Lapidary Society (BCLS) www.lapidary.bc.ca which is also the official website of the umbrella association for the rockhounding clubs of British Columbia, Canada.

2.     Pacific Museum of the Earth, Earth & Ocean Sciences, UBC Campus, Vancouver www.eos.ubc.ca/resources/museum/

3.     The BC Gem Show in April of each year. The show is located in the Ag-Rec Building on the Central Fraser Valley Fairgrounds (32470 Haida Drive) in Abbotsford, British Columbia. www.lapidary.bc.ca/gemshow.html.

4.     The Geological Survey of Canada bookshop in Downtown Vancouver offers maps, books and a collection of rocks. Located at 101-605 Robson Street, Vancouver at the intersection with Seymour St. www.gsc.nrcan.gc.ca/org/vancouver/bookstore/index_e.php.

5.     The Ministry of Forests, Mines & Lands online maps which allows users to research minerals and rocks located in specific areas, www.mapplace.ca.

6.     B.C. Museum of Mining at Britannia Beach. www.bcmuseumofmining.org.


Some useful references:
Rockhounding:  in Search of Earth’s Treasures (1994).
Ministry of Energy and Mines, Geological Survey of Canada.

A Field Guide to the Identification of Pebbles (2006):
 Eileen Van der Flier-Keller, University of Victoria. School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.