Did you know . . . ?
British Columbia is full of volcanoes.
Mount Garibaldi. Mount Meager. Mount Edziza. All were active volcanoes once.
The Geological Survey of Canada groups the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest—those younger than about five million years—into seven volcanic belts. Of these, five include large portions of B.C.—the Anahim, Garibaldi, and Stikine volcanic belts, the Chilcotin Plateau Basalts, and Wells Gray-Clearwater Volcanic Field. A sixth, the Wrangell Volcanic Belt, just touches B.C.’s northwest corner.
Somewhat ironically, it is a volcano outside of B.C. that most threatens British Columbians. For those living in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Emergency Management BC identifies Mount Baker, in the Cascades belt of northern Washington State, as posing the greatest potential volcanic hazard. Not that scientists suggest it will erupt soon: just someday.
For our Spring 2009 issue, Contributing Editor Larry Pynn and landscape photographer Chris Harris travelled on horseback into the eerily beautiful volcanic landscape of Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park. This Chilcotin park’s landforms were created in two volcanic phases: an early shield-building stage, characterized by lava flows some three million years ago; and a more recent capping stage 800,000 to 2.2 million years ago, when molten magma founds its way to the Earth’s surface through fissures to become cinder cones.
To read the full article and see Harris’s spectacular photographs from the trip, pick up the current issue of British Columbia Magazine.