Geology

The making of a mine takes science, luck and beer

The Brewery Creek Mine is located 60 kilometres east of Dawson City, but this story starts east of there, in 1979. That’s when Rio Canex Exploration Ltd. staked the “IDA” claims in response to the results of a Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) stream sediment sampling program.

Early Geological Mapping

When you fly over Yukon and British Columbia, look out your window if you can. You will see an endless, rugged landscape, broken by lakes and rivers. The first geologists who came to map this vast land did not have the fortune to do a flyover first. As different means of transportation evolved over the …

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Viewing Stones – Part 2

If you are looking for your own viewing stone, the best rocks tend to be those that erode into interesting shapes.

Viewing Stones – Part 1

Gongshi, suiseki, and suseok are the art of stone appreciation. It originated in China during the Han Dynasty

Early Geological Mapping

The earliest geology maps of the Yukon show only the rocks that line the rivers. You traveled by boat, mapping as you went. 

Bent rocks – Part 1

Living where we do in the cordillera region of western North America, we are able to see the power of plate tectonics up close. How do all these rocks get all bent out of shape?

Straight talk on joints

Columnar joints, that is. There is a geological feature that has caught human imagination for tens of thousands of years. It has been given names, where it has appeared in different parts of the world, including the Devils Postpile, Titan’s Piazza, Los Organos and the Giant’s Causeway. All are spectacular examples of what is called …

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Concretions – shapely time capsules

Your Backyard Geology – Part 9 Concretions are not shaped by running water or fabricated by humans, nor are they dinosaur eggs. They are fascinating geological formations that come in the most interesting shapes. Concretions are time capsules holding clues into the past geologic record. Concretions are widespread in sedimentary rocks worldwide, including the Yukon. …

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Limestone reefs in southern Yukon

Part 8 of Your Backyard Geology Within Whitehorse city limits, you can see Grey Mountain from almost anywhere. It is one of the first landmarks tourists see flying into the city. Eight thousand kilometres away, the residents around Salzburg, Austria, can look up from their morning coffee and see the rugged, beautiful grey-white peaks of …

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The white channel gravels

As the story goes, the early gold rush stampeders found all the creeks staked when they arrived. The Sourdoughs already there jokingly told the newcomers to go to the top of the hills to find gold.

A whole lotta quakin’ goin’ on

On Monday May 1, 2017, at around 5:30 a.m., a magnitude 6.2 earthquake landed near the B.C.-Yukon border, followed by another slightly stronger one at around 7:30 a.m. The rare event got a lot more people talking about seismic activity in the region, and a few murmured their fears of an eventual “big one.”

The Tintina Trench

There was a not-so-urban myth out there that you could see the Tintina Trench from the moon. That is not true, unless the person on the moon had a good telescope.

Carmacks agate

Quartz is everywhere; it is the second most common mineral making up the Earth’s crust, just behind feldspar. Quartz is composed of the two elements silicon and oxygen. It has many different forms.

Celebrating the role of mining in the Yukon

The Yukon Chamber of Mines has prioritized outreach and community engagement as part of their programming. Heading into its 10th year, the annual Mining and Exploration Camp, which is held during Yukon Mining Week each spring, is one of two major events geared towards that work. (Family Day, held during the annual Geoscience Forum in …

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Moving Mountains

Student Sharon Bubsy examines one of the seismometer stations in remote areas of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. PHOTO: courtesy of the Yukon College   Researchers investigate how Earth movement on the coast can affect inland mountains The white-capped Mackenzie Mountains, which spill over the border between Yukon and the Northwest Territories, are surprisingly active… …

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The awe of quartzite beneath you

Rock, not the genre of music, that guy on the radio or your friend from Newfoundland referring to “The Rock” as home, but rocks and the minerals they are made of, are integral to our existence. We interact with them in many ways every day. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American philosopher and writer, wrote in …

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Yukon Women in Mining

Yukon Women in Mining wants to raise the profile of mining as a vibrant career option, especially for Yukon women and youth. To do that in May they launched the Experiential Extravaganza in three Yukon communities. Over 30 representatives from 20 companies built a travelling exploration camp in Pelly Crossing, Faro and Dawson City to …

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Life After Tragedy

When asked about the message she hopes to convey in the film, Ohama responded, “It’s a moving and inspiring story of how people find real joy, love and meaning in life again… even in the face of extreme loss. In our busy, cluttered world filled with stress… we tend to forget how to see and …

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(Hot) Water Water Everywhere (Iceland Age part 1)

Although Iceland has been getting a lot of press lately as a hot – metaphorically and geologically speaking – tourist destination, it hardly seems a likely go-to spot for an agricultural experience. That however is exactly what landed me in the middle of the blustery North Atlantic in October along with seven other Yukoners. We …

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Predator and Prey 14,000 Years Ago

Zhoh, the Clan of the Wolf: Fiction of the first humans to inhabit The Yukon. I knew Bob Hayes novel would be physically accurate.

Mining All the Options

Saturday, Nov. 19 is the Yukon Chamber of Mines’ Family Day and on Sunday the Forum Trade Show showcases the industry. Monday the Core Shack opens with drilling samples of recent prospects. Mann, an independent consultant, hasn’t missed the Geoscience Forum since the late ’80s. “If you live and work in this territory it’s the …

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Gone Fishing

As a Conservation Officer in Ontario in the late 1950s through the 1960s, I patrolled the St. Lawrence River to the Quebec border. I came upon a very strange group of people between five and 90 years old. They were in search of a specific species whose ancestors date back 100 millions years ago and …

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Final Days and Thoughts

The final week of Icelandic adventuring saw us completing the Ring Road, which encircles the whole country and has tourist spots dotted along the way. We followed it east and gradually north through glacier-domed mountains, bucolic sheep folds, thundering waterfalls and glistening black alluvial beaches that stretched along the coastline for miles at a time. …

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Gold Fever is Alive and Well

Panning for gold the old-fashioned way is an art and a science, though you don’t have to be an expert in either to take part in the annual Yukon Gold Panning Championships, held on Saturday, July 1 in Dawson City. “We’re trying to attract gold panning enthusiasts, competitive types, visitors, and first time gold panners,” …

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Mine, All Mine!

The next time you travel north on the Alaska Highway between the Fish Lake Road and the Porter Creek Super A, ask yourself why the canyon there is called Rabbit Foot Canyon. Why not Anaconda? In 1899, the White Pass Railway was wondering whether it would be worthwhile extending its track all the way to …

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E.T. Call P.C.

During my daily walks with the dogs in the woods between Porter Creek and the college, I can’t help noticing long straight corridors cut through the trees. At first, I naturally assumed these were the Whitehorse equivalent of the lines on the Nazca Desert in southern Peru that Erich von Däniken (Chariots of the Gods?) …

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Faro Calling

The Town of Faro fascinates me because I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard stories. That is was a mining boomtown starting in 1969, and now it’s a bit of a bust town. That it’s very well groomed — in my head (and in writing, now) I call it the Pleasantville of the Yukon. It’s …

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A Northern Diary

About 11:00 p.m. I finally got a glimpse of McClure when our trail passed near the deep ravine the river made. I had been vainly looking for it for the last few hours, but it was hidden in the canyon. The lake is about three miles long and is a skinny one. It’s sort of …

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The Aishihik Rock Slide

For three consecutive Sundays, my husband and I have been going to a place we both fell in love with. He found it when hunting for bison, and I knew the spot from hiking up to the tors along the Aishihik Road. We discovered the rockslide while being there. Initially we liked the spot because …

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World of Words: Helping children explore the past in the present

“Yukoners are definitely hitting above their weight,” polar scientist David Hik told Claire Eamer after the Canadian Science Writers’ Association (CSWA) presented her with the Science in Society Youth Book Award, in May. Locals may be familiar with Eamer’s contributions to the Northern Research Institute’s column Your Yukon or may have read her near-future fiction …

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A Road Less Travelled

As you drive toward Kluane Lake an inconspicuous dirt road marked as “The Arctic Institute of North America” leads off to the right. If you choose to follow this path less taken you’ll find yourself confronted with a gravel airstrip and a hodgepodge of buildings populated by people sporting Carhartt pants, dirty jeans, and toques. …

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