Urban geology and geoheritage of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia
Michael C. Wilson, Lionel E. Jackson, Jr., 2014. "Urban geology and geoheritage of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia", Trials and Tribulations of Life on an Active Subduction Zone: Field Trips in and around Vancouver, Canada, Shahin Dashtgard, Brent Ward
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This one-day field trip through Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, illustrates the breadth of societal contributions afforded by urban geology. In addition to the classic geotechnical needs and concerns about geological hazard mitigation, interest is growing in the heritage and educational values of geological sites, and their potential roles in fostering a sense of place. As urban populations become increasingly diverse, they cannot be united by shared history; therefore, the shared environment can emerge as a strong element of shared identity. With more than 50% of the global population now living in urban centers, it becomes too easy for them to become alienated from geology as a “science of the hinterland,” devoted more to resource exploration and development than to matters of shared heritage. A surprising amount of geological information can be studied and appreciated in an urban area, despite development. There is a need for ongoing urban geological surveys, supported by educational institutions linked to urban administrations and provincial and/or state and national agencies. The surveys would have rapid-response capability to allow optimal recovery of fine-scale information from the temporary exposures that daily come to light. Metro Vancouver’s exposed (in-place) bedrock and surficial deposits represent over 100 million years of Earth history. It is a history of continuous mountain building and collapse as recorded by granitic batholiths with cross-cutting dikes and sills, Mesozoic and Cenozoic clastic sedimentary rocks, volcanic features, and Quaternary glacial and nonglacial deposits. Several of its landforms have cultural significance for both aboriginal and settler populations, reflected in their names and associated stories. Both information and meanings reside in the urban geological landscape and beg to be interpreted, providing excellent educational and research opportunities even as they also contribute to cultural continuity.