Strathcona Park - Introduction
| Introduction | Geological History of Strathcona Park | Rocks in the park | Plate Tectonics | The first Volcanoes | Fossils |
| The Volcanic Flood | Invasion of the Granite Magma | Wearing Down the Mountains | The Big Chill | Renewed Erosion
| Myra Falls Mine | Contributors | Maps & Figures |
Myra Falls is incised into thin beds of the Sicker Group. These volcanic rocks are called tuffs and are deposited as fine, volcanic ash settles out of the water following an eruption.
The scenery of Strathcona park is dramatic. High mountain peaks, deep shaded valleys, lakes and waterfalls are all there in magnificent profusion. From the valley floors, clothed in mature forest, to the wildflower-carpeted alpine meadows it is easy to be impressed.
It is also easy to forget that beneath your feet lies a history stretching back 380 million years. It is a history of violent volcanic eruptions on ancient seafloors and quiet interludes when gardens of sea lilies waved in gentle ocean currents. It is a history of rocks torn and folded by the extraordinary forces which can move continents, and of mountain ranges sculpted by the immensely thick ice sheets which only vanished a few thousand years ago. No matter how long your visit, or whatever your interest, a knowledge of the geology of Strathcona Park will enhance your enjoyment of this spectacularly beautiful area.
Whether you are planning an adventurous hike, or do not intend to stray far from the highway, the rocks are there for you to contemplate and enjoy. They are the key to the past and the source of great mineral wealth. This website is intended to help the curious visitor read the story in the rocks and understand some of Vancouver Island's turbulent history.
The Westmin Mine is surrounded by a Class A park and the boundary of its mineral claims fall entirely within the Strathcona-Westmin Class B Park. Hence all mining activities, and the eventual reclamation and rehabilitation of the sit, fall under a park-use permit. Constant monitoring ensures that environmental concerns and public safety are an integral part of the continuing mine program. It is interesting to note that not only are recreational activities not impeded by mining activities but mine tour have become an important additional attraction for park visitors.
Remember that, like the animals and plants, the rocks, minerals and fossils are part of Strathcona Park's invaluable heritage; please don't destroy or remove them.
Strathcona Park, named for Lord Strathcona, the driving force behind the Canadian Pacific Railway, was created in 1911 as B.C.'s first provincial park. With 2200 square kilometres, it is about half the size of Prince Edward Island and 7 percent of Vancouver Island. It extends from sea level on Herbert Inlet to the highest point on Vancouver Island (Golden Hinde, 2210 metres). Strathcona Park also contains Buttle Lake, one of the largest lakes on Vancouver Island, Della Falls, B.C.'s highest waterfall, and the Westmin Resources mine, one of the largest copper-lead-zinc mines in the province. Its geological history is the history of Vancouver Island and its story is an integral part of the story of western North America.
View from Comox Glacier looking southwest towards Mount Harmston, across Milla Lake.
The incredible scenery of Strathcona Provincial Park is a natural draw for many hikers.