Abstract

Analysis of over 10 000 water-well records has been used to produce new depth-to-bedrock maps for areas around five cities on the central Interior Plateau of central British Columbia: 100 Mile House, Prince George, Quesnel, Vanderhoof, and Williams Lake. Hitherto, exploration for mineral and hydrocarbon resources has been hampered by a lack of basic knowledge of the thickness of Neogene and Quaternary lithologies. Interpretation of these new maps provides first-order constraints on the localization of thick drift in pre-Late Wisconsinan bedrock paleovalleys, some of which are now buried. Basalt lavas of the Chilcotin Group are restricted to erosional remnants of previously extensive sheets emplaced onto an older peneplain. Our results confirm that the Neogene and Quaternary cover is primarily controlled by paleotopography and is generally thin and patchy across much of the region. Increased understanding of the three-dimensional distribution of cover produces a corresponding increase in the utility of geological, geochemical, and geophysical exploration techniques, and a reduction in the risk for future mineral exploration activities, especially when combined with more sophisticated data sets.

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