Field Trips

RFG 2018 is offering a large variety of pre and post conference field trips. To register for one of them, you have to be a registered participant. 

The organization reserves the right to cancel a field trip if this one has not reach the minimum of participants. In that case, you will be notified by email of the cancellation around mid-May.

Pre conference field trips

2 days - Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2018
$460 Include: transportation, meals, accomodation and guidebook

The Chilliwack - Harrison Lake region occupies an important position in a mid-Cretaceous to Cenozoic (100-45 Ma) orogen whose southern extent geographically coincides with the Coast and Cascade Mountains of southwestern BC, and the Cascade Ranges of Washington State. We informally refer to this orogen as the "Coast-Cascade orogen". In this region there is excellent preservation of the allochthonous terranes that were sandwiched between terranes to the east previously accreted to the pre-Cordilleran continental margin of North America in the Jurassic, and Wrangellia terrane to the west that underlies most of Vancouver Island. The Coast-Cascade orogen is characterized by mid-Cretaceous to early Cenozoic granitic intrusions, associated metamorphic rocks, and by folds, thrust and reverse faults that diverge eastward and westward from an axis within the present mountains. The southern part of the CCO is overprinted by late Eocene through Neogene (~34-0 Ma in this region) volcanic rocks and plutons of the Cascade Magmatic Arc, whose volcanic rocks bury the CCO south of about latitude 47°N. The purpose of this 2-day field trip is to examine rocks and structures in two areas, discuss their association with each other and their paleogeographic affinities. One area is in and around the Chilliwack Valley south of the lower Fraser River (Day 1) and the other area is north of it on the east side of Harrison Lake (Day 2). The former area lies within the Cascade Mountains (called the North Cascade Ranges in Washington) and the latter in the southeastern Coast Mountains.

Field trip sponsor: GAC
Contacts: Dan Gibson, Simon Fraser University; Jim Monger, Geological Survery of Canada

7 days - Sunday June 10 to Saturday June 16, 2018
$2 250 Include: transportation, luncheons, accomodation and guidebook

This seven-day long field trip focuses on the porphyry Cu-Au systems in the prolific Late Triassic Quesnel Terrane(Quesnellia) of southern British Columbia. It will provide participants with exposure to various types of porphyry deposits, mineralization and alteration styles, mining methods and background lectures. In particular, participants will see alteration types associated with alkaline porphyry systems. Participants will also be exposed to the Anaconda Mapping Method, which can be variably practiced at surface and bench mapping scales as well as a MDRU-modified approach for core-logging. Participants will include a mix of industry and MDRU graduate students and researchers. For UBC students, this trip is part of a course requirement.

The course is based in the southern Quesnel Terrane around the porphyry deposits near Kamloops and the Copper Mountain district, near the town of Princeton. These represent important alkalic Cu-Au porphyry deposits that characterize British Columbia's metallogeny. The regional geology is also characterized to provide context to the nature of the Late Triassic arc whence the deposits formed. The region is well-exposed and the open pits and surrounding outcrops provides a fantastic natural laboratory. Evening lectures will provide insight, context and an opportunity for discussion and socializing.

The course will provide an introduction to the mapping of alteration, lithology, mineralization and structures associated with porphyry deposits. The focus will be on the field techniques and methodology, but the course will also provide a good field introduction into the geology of alkalic porphyry Cu-Au systems and include technical presentations and discussion on setting of BC porphyry deposits and alterations applied to exploration of porphyry copper deposits. Participants should be comfortable underground, in open pits and on uneven terrain and have appropriate boots and clothing.

Fees include all transportation, accommodation, and training materials. Lunches will be supplied most days: breads, cheese, meat, cookies etc. Breakfasts and dinners are not supplied but continental breakfasts are available at the hotel. Welcome and farewell BBQs are included with registration. Otherwise, individuals have the opportunity to select from a variety of dining options in the towns of Kamloops and Princeton. Participants are expected to bring outdoor gear appropriate for cold & windy weather, a knapsack, water bottle, as well as typical mapping equipment for a minesite such as rock hammer, hand lens, notebook, and PPE (CSA-approved safety boots, safety glasses, hard hats and safety vest required; please bring your own).

Participants with an interest in porphyry copper systems, particularly the alkaline variety, and an appreciation of alteration types and styles will get the greatest benefit from this course.

Field trip sponsor: Mineral Deposits Research Unit

Contact: Craig Hart

2 days - Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2018
$338 Include: transportation in Vancouver Island, meals, accomodation and guidebook

To examine the karst landscapes and associated surface and subsurface waters of Central Vancouver Island.

Particicipants would be picked up in Nanaimo at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal on the morning of Thursday June 14, 2018, spend the day in the Horne Lake Area and overnight in Campbell River. The next day on Friday June 15, they would travel to Quadra Island and return to Nanaimo for an evening ferry to Vancouver.

Field trip sponsor: GAC

Contact: Tim Stokes

1 day - Friday, June 15, 2018
$100 Include: transportation, meal and guidebook

This field trip will highlight and investigate the Urban Geology of Metro Vancouver. During this one-day bus trip, participants will view the sequence of rocks and sediments underlying Metro Vancouver from bedrock to Quaternary surficial deposits. We will discuss how this geological setting and geomorphic processes are manifested as development constraints, geological hazards. Geoheritage considerations will also be explored. Stops will include the regional water supply, the geology of Stanley Park, geotechnical challenges in construction of a 2 km tunnel as a part of the Evergreen LRT project and landslide problems. We will emphasize Urban Geology as an increasingly vital speciality within the earth sciences.

Field trip sponsor: GAC

Contacts: Lionel Jackson, Simon Fraser University; Michael Wilson, Douglas College

Post conference field trips

3 days - Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24
$1160 Include: transportation, meals, accomodation and guidebook

This MAC-sponsored field trip visits the Upper Fir carbonatite-hosted Nb-Ta deposit in the Blue River area, east-central British Columbia. The area is within the Omineca belt of the Canadian Cordillera, at the northeastern margin of the Shuswap metamorphic complex, in the Monashee Mountains. Metacarbonatites and associated ultramafic and alkaline rocks of at least two age groups (ca. 500 and 360-330 Ma) and the enclosing (semi)pelites and amphibolites of the Mica Creek assemblage (750-550 Ma) in the Blue River area underwent multiple deformational phases, anatexis at peak metamorphism, and exhumation during the Cordilleran orogeny (e.g., Pell, 1994; Digel et al., 1998; Millonig and Groat, 2013).

Upper Fir is the largest and best-studied Nb-Ta deposit in the area, hosting an NI 43-101 compliant resource of 48.4 million tonnes (indicated category) averaging 1,610 ppm Nb2O5 and 197 ppm Ta2O5 plus 5.4 million tonnes (inferred category) averaging 1,760 ppm Nb2O5 and 191 ppm Ta2O5 (Kulla and Hardy, 2015). Ore minerals are mainly Ta-rich pyrochlore and ferrocolumbite, with minor fersmite, niobo-easchynite, and microlite (Chudy, 2013). The pyrochlore and ferrocolumbite have variable but generally lower Nb/Ta ratios than those from most carbonatite-hosted Nb deposits, and microlite (Ta-member of the pyrochlore supergroup) is yet to be found in carbonatites elsewhere. The Ta±U-rich pyrochlore and ferrocolumbite were attributed to the late- or post-magmatic dissolution-precipitation processes at Upper Fir (Chudy, 2013), whereas similar U-Ta-rich pyorchlore is a primary igneous phase (i.e. cores of early pyrochlores) in the greenschist-facies metacarbonatites hosting the Aley Nb deposit, northern B.C. (Chakhmouradian et al., 2015). Moreover, coarse molybdenite (centimetre-sized crystals) occurs sporadically in both carbonatites and fenites, containing up to 1,386 ppm Mo (one metre drill-core intervals) at Upper Fir (Rukhlov and Gorham, 2007). So far, molybdenite associated with carbonatites has been reported only from three other occurrences, including two in the Canadian Cordillera: (1) Mount Grace, southeastern B.C. (Höy, 1987); (2) Wicheeda Lake REE prospect, east-central B.C. (Trofanenko et al., 2016); and (3) Huanglongpu Mo deposit (up to 1,010 ppm Mo), Qinling porphyry Mo belt, central China (Xu et al., 2010). Recent experimental evidence favours magmatic rather than hydrothermal origin of carbonatite-hosted Mo deposits (Song et al., 2016). In addition, REE carbonates have not been observed in the amphibolite-facies metacarbonatites of the Blue River area, unlike the greenschist-facies metacarbonatites in British Columbia, suggesting that these phases are not stable at elevated metamorphic conditions (Millonig and Groat, 2013).

Participants of this field trip will see representative drill-core sections and outcrops of mineralogically and texturally diverse carbonatites, related alteration and ultramafic rocks, and the enclosing rocks of the Mica Creek assemblage at Upper Fir. We will discuss the primary igneous features and tectono-metamorphic overprinting of the Upper Fir Nb-Ta deposit, recorded by outcrop- to centimetre-scale, recumbent isoclinal folds, overprinted by upright open folds and faults, boudinage, penetrative foliation or lineation, porphyroblasts, crenulation cleavage, compositional banding, migmatization, mylonitization, replacement textures, and syntectonic pegmatites. Highway travel from Vancouver to Blue River transects a number of different Cordilleran terranes. A few optional stops along the way will show some of these rocks.

Health and safety of field-trip participants are most important considerations. Physical and logistical demands of the field trip will be disclosed in a medical form, which participants will be expected to fill in advance, in addition to signing waivers. We will use a 56-passenger charter bus and a Bell 206 LongRanger L4 helicopter to ferry crews between the bus drop-off/pick-up location and the Upper Fir (1,240 m elevation). The commercial transport services include insurances, and MAC has a field-trip policy and liability insurance for trip leaders.

Participants need to be prepared to walk about 2 km on deactivated trails and excavated sites in potentially cold and wet conditions. Everyone must bring adequate personal protective gear (i.e. warm and waterproof clothing, safety-toed boots, hat/toque, gloves, sunscreen, etc). Because the itinerary includes rugged bulk-sample cuts, participants need to wear safety-toed boots and hard hats (will be provided). Field-trip leaders and assistants will oversee participants at all times and will provide specific safety instructions at each stop. The leader(s) will be trained in wilderness first aid, and will have an emergency response plan, hand-held radios, satellite phone, and first aid kits, including anaphylaxis treatment (epinephrine auto-injectors and antihistamines).

Inclement weather or elevated risk of forest fire may cancel helicopter, in which case we will have more time to examine the Commerce Resources Corp.'s bulk-sample material and drill-core from Upper Fir in Blue River. Commerce Resources Corp.'s representatives will be on site to assist at outcrops and in the core shack.

Field trip sponsor: MAC

Contact: Alexei S. Rukhlov

2.5 days - Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24, 2018
$470 Include: transportation, luncheons and accomodation

This 2.5-day field trip will examine the geology, hydrothermal alteration mineralogy, and geochemical dispersion around Yerington, Nevada. Yerington is a classic locality where porphyry Cu deposits, high level Fe-oxide deposits, and volcanic and plutonic complex have been tilted 80° on to their side so that a complete 3-D picture of a zoned magmatic-hydrothermal system is exposed. Day 1 of the field trip will focus on the geology of the porphyry Cu system beginning 3 km beneath to the level of copper precipitation. Day 2 will focus on the upper 3 km of the porphyry Cu system. Each day will link the geology of the tilted system with the alteration mineralogy together with the whole rock major and trace element geochemical changes in rocks that can be mapped using modern exploration methodology. Short hikes of up to 2 hours in duration are involved each day.

Field trip sponsor: Association of Applied Geoscientists

Contacts: Richard Tosdal, and John Dilles

1 day - Friday, June 22, 2018
$85 Include: transportation and luncheon

Tour of the Seabreeze Farm Renewable Natural Gas Plant to provide an overview of the process that converts organic waste into renewable natural gas, a sustainable source of clean energy, for injection into the local pipeline distribution grid.

Field trip sponsor: Canadian Biogas Association

Contacts: Antonio Saavedra; Marco Mazaferro; Judy Chow

2.5 days - Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24, 2018
$600 Include: transportation, luncheons, accomodation and guidebook

This 2.5 day post-conference field trip (June 22-24) will examine the magmatic evolution, mapped alteration, hyperspectral response, and the lithogeochemical and C isotope footprints around the Highland Valley Porphyry Cu (HVC) deposits hosted in the Guichon Creek batholith in southcentral British Columbia. The review of the district will focus on the integration of the disparate data sets to better define the extent of the porphyry related hydrothermal alteration. Additionally, we will visit some key surficial geology sites and discus the composition and mineralogy of till and its relationship to dispersion from the porphyry centers.

The volume of hydrothermally altered rocks outboard of economically significant concentrations of Cu-Fe–sulfide minerals is termed the porphyry footprint. An understanding of the fluid types that can be present during porphyry Cu formation, how they manifest in the footprint and their spatial distribution with respect to Cu-mineralized portions of the system is critical to developing better exploration tools. Four major porphyry Cu (± Mo) systems, hosted in various intrusive facies of the Late Triassic calc-alkalic Guichon Creek batholith, occur in the HVC district (Figure 1a). Exposure and airborne magnetic data indicate that the batholith has an oval shape, elongate to the northwest, with a long axis of approximately 60 km and a short axis of 25 km. Due to its size and low degree of exposure (~3%), the HVC district is a realistic natural laboratory in which to investigate the large-scale footprint of porphyry Cu deposits and has been the subject of recent detailed mapping and sampling by the NSERC-Canadian Mining Innovation Council Footprints project. The field review of the district-scale footprint will consist of a traverse of representative outcrops, with accompanying data-sheets, from the margins of the batholith towards Cu mineralization associated with the actively mined porphyry centers. The focus will be on the regional alteration footprint and will not include a mine tour.

Detailed Itinerary

Transportation: Three rental mini-vans will depart from the downtown Vancouver conference center on the morning of the day prior to the field trip (Friday the 22nd of June). Participants will drive to Merritt in the Interior Plateau on

Friday morning for a map review and presentations that afternoon and evening. We will depart to HVC for a full day in the field on Saturday June 23rd and return that evening to stay in Merritt for a second night. Accessing the Guichon Creek batholith on a Saturday is preferred to a week day so as to avoid logging truck traffic. Participants will return to downtown Vancouver on Sunday June 24th, arriving around midday.

Afternoon-Evening Review: After checking in at the hotel in Merritt on Friday, we will gather in a meeting room for a review of the regional and district geology in terms of rock types and structures, geochronology, magmatic evolution, and mapped alteration. The format will be a mix of power point presentations and informal discussion over maps and hand samples.

Tour Day: Starting from the margins of the batholith we will visit exposures of epidote ± prehnite veins with prehnite-white-mica (short-l)-chlorite alteration halos and work our way inwards towards the porphyry deposits stopping at Cu-occurrences that are characterized by high Cu-Ag grades and narrow domains of intense white-mica (long-l) alteration. From approximately 8km south of the porphyry centers we will visit outcrops that have a higher density of prehnite veins with prehnite-white-mica halos ± concomitant carbonate addition that are characterized by magmatic δ13Ctotal values. Additionally, the lithogeochemical and field characteristic of sodic-calcic altered rocks peripheral to the porphyry Cu deposits will be reviewed (Figure 2a). Within 1-3km outboard of the porphyry centers we will see early K-feldspar fracture halos with trace chalcopyrite patina, and fracture and pervasive white-mica (short to intermediate-l)-chlorite alteration associated with weak pathfinder element enrichment. While traversing the batholith, key exposures of overburden (drift) will be reviewed in conjunction with till mineral grain count and geochemical data to compare the response with respect to the porphyry deposits.


  • 30-40 minute hikes (off-trails and some slopes) will be required to visit some exposures
  • Hiking boots, back-packs, and waterproof jackets are required
  • Accommodations in Merritt will be double occupancy
  • Lunch on the field tour day will be provided, but registrants will be responsible for their own breakfast, dinner and other meals in Merritt
  • With limited space in the vehicles, registrants are asked to bring only sufficient luggage as needed for the trip, and to leave any excess luggage in storage at their Vancouver hotels.

Field trip sponsor: Association of Applied Geochemists

Contacts: Kevin Byrne, University of Alberta. Guillaume Lesage, Mineral Deposit Research Unit. Alain Plouffe, Geological Survey of Canada. Robert Lee, Mineral Deposit Research Unit.

3 days - Friday, June 21 to Sunday, June 24, 2018
$800 Include: transportation, some meals and accomodation

The Tulameen ultramafic-mafic complex is a classically zoned Alaskan-type intrusion emplaced in a Late Triassic supra-subduction zone setting. This field trip will examine the lithological zoning and temporal evolution of the complex. and contrasting styles of well-documented chromitite-PGE mineralization in the dunite core and derivative placers versus newly discovered Cu-PGE sulphide mineralization in the more differentiated ultramafic rocks. Highlights include examination of "magmatic avalanche" deposits exposed in the Rulameen River bed, and a 700m zone of Cu-PGE mineralization similar to occurrences documented from layered intrusions in extensional tectonic settings. We will be based in Princeton (3 nights) and leave directly after the conference on Thursday June 21 returning to Vancouver by noon on Sunday June 24. Meals are provided except for lunches and dinner on the Friday night. Transport in the field will utilize four-wheel drive vehicles and participants should bring raingear and boots with ankle support. This trip complements the Special Session on Advances in the Study of Ultramafic Rocks. A limited amount of financial support may be available for students wishing to participate in the field trip. However, field trip leaders reserve the right to limit the number of students participating.

Field trip sponsor: MAC

Contacts: Graham Nixon; Dejan Milidragovic

3 days - Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24, 2018
$1050 Include: transportation, meals, accomodation and guidebook

All successful geochemical surveys begin with collecting good samples, that in turn, rely on in-the-field recognition of appropriate sample media. The explorationist must identify the landforms (especially in glaciated terrains) from which the media are drawn to accurately interpret source provenance of any anomalous results. This field trip is targeted to geoscientists who want to learn more about interpreting glacial landforms and the sampling of soils, tills, sediments and vegetation from leading industry experts in quaternary geology, biogeochemistry, exploration geochemistry and analytical chemistry. The field trip will visit two mineral deposits (an active massive sulphide mine and a porphyry Cu-Au prospect) on Vancouver Island. In situ analyses using field portable instruments (e.g. pXRF) combined with subsequent lab analyses of collected samples will give the participants a full appreciation of discovering geochemical anomalies and tracing these to mineralization.

Field trip sponsor: Association of Applied Geochemists

Contact: John Gravel

3 days - Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24, 2018
$1220 Include: transportation, meals, accomodation and guidebook

Three day field trip will focus on the geological evolution of the Foreland thrust and fold belt between the Foothills and the Front Ranges of southern Alberta between Banff and the US border.

Field trip organizer: Paul MacKay, Shale Petroleum Ltd.

1 day - Friday, June 22, 2018
$130 Include: transportation and luncheon

This one day field trip will take in aspects of the geology of the mountainous north side of Vancouver harbour and will include visits to both the Capilano and Seymour watersheds to understand the Seymour-Capilano Twin Tunnels Projects and tour some of the associated facilities. Completed in 2015, Seymour-Capilano is a major modern urban water handling and treatment scheme that supplies domestic drinking water to 2.4 million local residents, at a rate of 1.8 billion litres per day. The twin tunnels project involved installing two 7.2km tunnels up to 500m below parts of Grouse Mountain to allow a single new filtration plant process water from two distinct watersheds. Leaving downtown Vancouver early in the day and returning late in the afternoon, the trip will commence with a stop at the Cypress Mountain lookout for an overview and review of the geological framework of the Vancouver region. We will then travel to Cleveland Dam on the Capilano River to view some of the key components of the bedrock and surficial geology - this will include a 1.5 hour hike on marked woodland trails with some steep sections and approx. 200 stairs. The afternoon will then be spent on guided tours of Metro Vancouver facilities on the Seymour River including the Seymour Falls Dam, the Seymour Capilano Filtration Plant and Twin Tunnels Portal. Time permitting there may be a stop at the scenic cable suspension bridge spanning Lynn Canyon, a short hike. Coach transportation. Packed lunch provided.

Field trip sponsor: GAC

Contacts: Oliver Bonham; Thomas Bissig; Jim Ryan; Lindsay Bottomer

1 day - Friday, June 22, 2018
$65 Include: transportation and luncheon

This is a post-conference trip that will describe and highlight geological features along the Sea to Sky Highway. During this one-day bus trip, participants will learn about the geology of Howe Sound, as well as natural hazards along the scenic transportation corridor between West Vancouver and Squamish. Highlights include: an underground tour of the Britannia Mine (once the largest copper mine in Canada); Howe Sound fiord, which bears the effects of Pleistocene glacial erosion; rockfall and debris flow hazards and their remediation; Mt. Garibaldi, a dormant volcano near the head of Howe Sound; and land-use planning in Squamish, a community subject to flood and debris flow hazards.

Field trip sponsor: GAC

Contact: John Clague

4 days - Friday, June 22 to Monday, June 25, 2018
$550 Include: transportation, luncheons, accomodation and guidebook

This trip will take participants eastward through the Fraser Valley to the town of Clearwater. During the trip we will be crossing a number of terranes brought together by collision and translation along the continental margin, amalgamating to form the present day British Columbia.  There will be the opportunity to observe the precipitous cliffs, waterfalls and rugged mountains of the Coast Ranges formed of these collisions as the tour climbs through the heart of these mountains.  From Clearwater, the tour will investigate a zone of transition between the Cariboo and Monashee mountain ranges where deep crustal faults have provided pathways for mafic magmas producing the Wells Gray–Clearwater volcanic field. Here, the interaction between volcanism and multiple glaciations over a three million year period have created rugged terrain and other unique subglacial landforms. More than 25 cubic kilometers of lava have poured out and at least 21 eruptive centers have been identified, several of them subglacial landforms called Tuyas. Over the vertical cliffs fall many torrents of water, including Canada’s fourth highest water fall – Helmcken Falls. Participants will have the opportunity for hands-on examination of complex stratigraphy related to volcano-glacier interaction in addition to experiencing stunning views of waterfalls, walking behind a water fall and taking in the surrounding terrain dotted with subglacial landforms. On the afternoon of the third day, the trip will leave Wells Gray and head westward to the town of Lillooet on the might Fraser River. From here, the trip will head southward following the Duffy Lake road with stunning alpine views. Short stops at Nairn Falls (a raging torrent over granite) and Brandywine Falls (a mini Helmcken Falls), are planned with arrival back in Vancouver on the evening of the last day.

Field trip sponsor: GAC

Contact: Catherine Hickson