Table of Contents:

A Canadian Newsletter for the Earth Sciences

Volume 1 Number 2, March 2003


Geoscape Canada
Pascale Côté, Bob Turner, John Clague


The Geological Survey of Canada produces large-format information posters and companion websites that describe the local geoscape, or geological landscape, of communities across Canada. Geoscape posters have been completed for Vancouver, Victoria, Québec, Montréal, Calgary, Fort Fraser (northern B.C.), Toronto, and Whitehorse. Others are in preparation for Nanaimo (B.C.), Winnipeg, Ottawa, Halifax, Grand River basin (southern Ontario), Southern Saskatchewan, and Nunavut. Posters and websites are produced in both English and French language versions.

The aim of Geoscape projects is to increase understanding of local geology and geoscience issues among students and the general public. Increased geoliteracy in communities will result in better land-use decisions concerning resources and environmental issues, such as:

  • protection of groundwater and surface water supplies,
  • mitigation of natural hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and radon gas,
  • development of earth resources such as aggregate and minerals.

Geoscape projects are produced and delivered with the support of a vast network of partners, that include educators, provincial and municipal government agencies, and the private sector. The projects are based on the following principles:


1 - Geoscapes focus on well known landscape features and their geological significance.

Figure 3. Thrust fault origin of mountains near Calgary
Figure 4. Is Mount Royal in Montreal an ancient volcano?
Figure 5. Formation of the Niagara Escarpment near Toronto.
FIgure 6. Geological thrusting responsible for the Upper Town and Lower Town in Quebec City.

2 - Geoscapes show the link between the regional and local geological history and social, cultural, and economic development.

Figure 7. Before and After: Conversion of an old limestone quarry into the world-famous Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC.
Figure 8. Calgary: quarrying of stone to build the city
Figure 9. Rocks that are part of our history: Quebec City building stone from the Appalachian Mountains

3 - Geoscapes address geological issues rooted in the immediate surroundings and the daily lives of residents

Figure 10. When a mountain fell: Hope landslide near Vancouver.
Figure 11. Waiting for a giant earthquake in Victoria: a model of the tsunami associated with the magnitude 9 subduction earthquake of 1700.
Figure 12. Sediments on the move: coastal erosion of an island near Victoria.

4 - Finally Geoscapes cover themes related to resources and their relationship to local geology.

Figure 13. Molybdenum in the environment: Fort Fraser area, northern British Columbia.
Figure 14. Groundwater resources, Calgary.
Figure 15. Burial of marine life produces oil and gas: fossil fuels in Alberta.


Canadians are increasingly faced with the problem that decision-makers deal with hazard and resource issues without an understanding of geology. The Geoscape project has been developed to provide geoscience information to educators, environmental professionals, planners, emergency preparedness personnel, and the general public. More than half of all Canadians live in the poster regions, so the posters will provide substantial benefits to Canada. Based on the Geoscape experience, the Geological Survey of Canada is presently developing a Waterscape project that will complement its groundwater program. Waterscapes will present key scientific information on important aquifers to decision-makers, such as municipalities, in a form they can readily understand.

For more information on the Geoscape Canada project:
To order (GSC bookstore) :


Geoscape Whitehorse; 2003, Turner, R.J.W., Mougeot, C.M., Roots, C.F., Clague, J.J, Franklin, R., Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report, 82, 1 sheet.

Geoscape Toronto; 2003, Doyle, V.M., Steele, KG. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , 83, 1 sheet.

Geoscape Calgary; 2002, Poulton, T., Neumar, T., Osborn, G., Edwards, D., Wozniak, P. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , 72, 1 sheet.

Geoscape Montréal; 2002, Prichonet, G., Côté, P., Bédard, P., Larocque, M., Achab, A. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , no. 80, 1 sheet.

Geoscape Victoria; 2001, Yorath, C., Kung, R., Franklin, R. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , 74, 1 sheet.

Geoscape Québec; 2001, Côté, P., Achab, A., Michaud, Y. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , no. 76, 2 sheets.

Geoscape Fort Fraser, British Columbia; 1999, Hastings, N., Plouffe, A., Struik, L.C.,; Turner, R.J.W., Anderson, R.G., Clague, J.J., Williams, S.P., Kung, R., Taccogna, G. Geological Survey of Canada, Miscellaneous Report , no. 66, 1 sheet.
Geoscape Vancouver; 1996, Turner, R.J.W., Clague, J.J., Groulx, B.J. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 3309, 1 page.

Pascale Côté, Geological Survey of Canada, Québec, Que
Bob Turner, Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver, B.C.
John Clague, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C.


Last updated: May 31st, 2003.

2003 What on Earth ISSN 1703-5104
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