Okanagan Geology South
Okanagan Geology South
Okanagan Geology South provides you with information about the local geology and natural history of the South Okanagan.
In villa Orion you will find Roed’s book “Okanagan Geology South: Geologic Highlights of the South Okanagan, British Columbia. Edited by Murray A. Roed and Robert J. Fulton.Okanagan Geology Committee Sandhill Book Marketing Ltd., Kelowna, BC ISBN: 978-0-9699795-3-1 $24.95 paperback, 238 pages”.
This book really belongs in every car, truck and RV that roams this storied land, and should be among the treasured souvenirs of every tourist, traveller and visitor who has an interest in its natural history.
It is a work of very great beauty. Almost every page has an illustration of some sort: a photograph, a diagram, a map, or a graph. Most are in colour. Some are hard-edged, framed or set in shaded relief. Many others are deliberately faded so that they dissolve into a misty background to the text.
The book aims to be a survey of ‘geologic highlights’.
Chapter 1 (Geologic Pioneers) describes the early contributions of those who coax stories from stones, a tribute to the undoing of settled science by the revolution in plate tectonics.
Chapter 2 addresses basic concepts in geology (time, rock types, tectonics) and some of the tools used in our craft (e.g. geophysics).
Chapter 3 sketches a geological history of the region, starting with the Big Bang(!), quickly traversing the Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, before concluding with longer accounts of the Pleistocene and Holocene. Glacial and postglacial events get a full and satisfactory treatment that links to local familiar features (lakes, cliffs and creeks) to the processes that formed them.
The core of the book is Chapter 4 (Highlights of Residential Centres). Eight areas have been chosen: Osoyoos, Oliver, White Lake Basin, Okanagan Falls, Kaleden, Penticton, Naramata, and Summerland. Here the book fulfils its aim to be a practical field guide. Images, locations and text appear to be carefully cross-referenced. Points of interest (each identified on a brightly coloured geological map) are described with enough detail to interest readers even if they repeat their visits. The mysteries of Giants Head, Crater Mountain and China Wall are all here revealed.
Chapters 5, 7 and 8 show the intimate interplay between geology and our day-to-day world. Chapter 5 (Geological Hazards) could be subtitled with a maxim attributed to historian Will Durant: “Civilization exists by geological consent.” Slides, rock falls, debris torrents (including the 2010 event at Testalinden Creek near Oliver), sink holes, earthquakes, and volcanic ash fall (from active volcanoes of the High Cascades) are given equal, and equally sobering, treatment. Chapters 7 and 8 (Groundwater and Surface Water, respectively) address a vital resource in this arid place. Osoyoos claims to have Canada’s only true desert. Hike off-trail anywhere and you will encounter cactus whose painful barbs drive home this fact. The authors of these chapters take time to deliver messages about scarcity and conservation. Groundwater is an unmanaged resource in BC, and proper care of aquifer recharge areas requires local initiative.
Chapters 6 and 9 have unexploited bacchanalian connections. The former describes the region’s history of mining, and the latter explores the link between geology and wine. Chapter 6 (Mining and Exploration) reads a little like an obituary of a dear old friend. The mineral potential of the area remains good, at least according to assessments by the BC Geological Survey. But … changing patterns of land use, the creation of parks, ever-increasing demand for the same land and resources, and the imperative for conservative management of natural areas (the south Okanagan has the largest number of endangered species in BC, perhaps in all of Canada) seem to have extirpated miners from this area forever. One resource not covered in this chapter is aggregate. This is a little surprising because it is a near-urban extractive industry rife with conflict and ire.
I can guarantee that some readers will head straight to Chapter 9. What better place to read about Geology and Wine than on our shaded patio at Villa Orion with a glass of Gewürztraminer in hand? Few pleasures can match this! Author Robert Fulton describes the concept of terroir, discusses whether it applies to the Okanagan, and if so how. The science of terroir appears to be, well, embryonic, requiring much more research, and, of course, extensive and intensive sampling.
The last chapter (Chapter 10, Reflections) rounds out the book. It could function equally well as a preface as it describes the purpose of the book, how it is organized and what distinguishes this book from others.
This book is a practical geological field guide for your discoveries through the South Okanagan!
Go to: http://okanaganlandscape.weebly.com/giants-head.html
Navigate to specific sites of interest, use the map below or select a location from the “Geology Sites” or “Waterbodies” tabs (sites are listed from north to south). Each location on the map will contain a link to the associated web page with a brief description, photos of the feature and list of references. To make the map larger, click on the full screen icon (open-sided box) in the top right corner of the map or click here.