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Ministry of Energy Mines and Responsible for Core Review

GeoFile 2009-6:  GeoTour Guide for the West Kootenay, British Columbia Geology, landscapes, mines, ghost towns, caves, and hot springs

by R.J.W. Turner, R.G. Anderson, R. Franklin, L. Anderton, and F. Fowler


View GeoFile 2009-6 (PDF, 4.8 MB)

(GSC Open File 6135)


The West Kootenay region is a land of contrasts: the rolling pastures of the Slocan Valley and rich floodplain farms near Creston; the big Kootenay, Slocan, and Arrow Lakes; the heritage downtowns of Nelson and Kaslo; the high glacier peaks of the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains; and the industrial landscape of Trail.


To the curious mind, the West Kootenay is a landscape full of questions.  Why is the West Kootenay region so mountainous? Why do most of the valleys run north-south? Why are the major lakes long and skinny? Why do the Columbia and Kootenay rivers follow such convoluted routes? Why are there hot springs? What source of wealth financed the fine heritage buildings in Nelson, Trail, Rossland and Kaslo?


This guide helps up explore these questions and others.  Is there logic to the landscape? Let’s go take a look.


All publications of the BC Geological Survey are available digitally, free of charge, from this website.


For questions or more information on geology and minerals in British Columbia contact BCGS Mailbox or call toll free (B.C. residents only).