Your Backyard Geology

All that glitters is not gold

The Yukon is well-known for its gold, but less known are the gemstones. What determines whether a mineral can be called a gemstone is open to interpretation.

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

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?


Just about every country in the world has caves. Every province and territory in Canada, including the Yukon, has some. Caves have provided shelter to humans and animals. Culturally, they can represent dark pits of mystery or storeholds of treasure. They are always associated with an adventure. Caves are defined as naturally made cavities that can …

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Telegraph Creek area

The area around Telegraph Creek is in the northern cordillera volcanic province. Extensive volcanic activity affected the Tahltan people.

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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Spring into summer

We live in one of the most geothermal active locations in North America. The entire west coast is influenced by plate tectonics. As continental-sized pieces of crust slide against each other, they produce heat. This thermal activity can come to surface as hot springs. (above: Alpha Pond, Liard Hot Springs) There are at least 70 …

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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.

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