Geology Walk with Patrick Johnstone

April 23, 2016

Patrick has a voice that carries and an enthusiasm for geology that’s infectious. He believes that an understanding of the geology of the landscape around you is the foundation stone for everything that comes after.

A diverse group of about 40 people gathered at the SIMRES headquarters at East Point on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed coffee and delicious rhubarb tarts from Hubertus Surm before we set off.

We headed for the shell beach and circled the headland coming back up the trail behind the Parks Canada office – mostly on dry rock but with some slimy, slippery bits to be wary of.

The setting is without compare – the sun shone, the sea-lions rumbled and the waves sparkled – Patrick was relieved not to be upstaged by the arrival of a super-pod of orcas – as has happened in the past.

The rocks beneath our feet told a geological story of dramatic events unfolding approximately 75 million years ago – continental and oceanic tectonic plates colliding, mountain building and volcanoes and erosion of those mountains with subsequent deposition of the sediments into seas that lay where we stood. We saw hummocky bedding, beds of pebbles and large cobbles, huge rip-up clasts and tafoni or honeycombed sandstone.

In the final discussion we heard of the geomagnetism mystery – geomagnetic measurements point to the deposition location of the Nanaimo Group rocks being near Baja. This evidence cannot be supported by more commonplace geological observations and the mystery remains.

We dispersed reluctantly - entertained and amazed.

Event reporting and photos by Mairead Boland.