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Smithers Exploration Group's Collection of Cordilleran Rock Suites

Welcome to Smithers Exploration Group’s Rock Room, home to our classic collection of Cordilleran rock suites. This extensive collection of rock samples is representative of deposits and rock types from across British Columbia, with a focus on the northwest. It’s an important resource for the development of expertise on the geology of northern BC and the discovery of the next mines.

The collection was begun in the 1970s by local geologists and prospectors, as well as the BC Ministry of Mines, and was updated under the direction of former regional geologist Paul Wojdak. It is designed to give hands-on examples of the rocks that make up the regional geological framework of northern British Columbia.  We are working hard to complete our collection: if there is a particular suite you are keen to see but we do not yet have, please let us know and we will prioritize the aquisition of those samples.  If you have a suite that you would consider donating to help us fill in the gaps, please contact us.

The Rock Room occupies a spacious classroom at the Smithers Exploration Group office at #101 3423 Fulton Avenue in Smithers. We have almost 2000 rock samples catalogued, clearly labelled and stored in trays that can be removed for handling and close examination. The room is heated, well-lit and spacious .It is equipped with regular and zoom stereomicroscopes for detailed investigation.

The rock suites cover:

Call 250-877-7883 or email rockroom@smithersexplorationgroup.com if you have questions about the Rock Room or the donation requirements for samples.

SEG’s Rock Room with its Cordilleran Rock Suites will make Smithers home to a unique tool for explorationists.  It will attract industry and government attention to Smithers as a community committed to the growth of the minerals industry in BC.

Browse the Rock Room Collection

Library No.Suite NameLocationCollectorRock NameAgeDescriptionCart
12-6-RB2 (missing)Subaerial BasaltChilcotinBasalt (sample missing)Miocene
V3-10Subaerial BasaltOlivine nodule basalt1-2 cm nodules of olivine plus chromite that are mantle xenoliths; 4-5% vesicles
V3-09Subaerial BasaltEndako GroupPalagonite basalt brecciaEoceneblack, glassy basalt fragments in brown matrix which is hydrated volcanic glass; formed when basalt lava flows into water, such as a lake
V3-08Subaerial BasaltChilcotinBasaltMioceneblack; fine grained; weakly vesicular (1%); very weakly magnetic; very small vesicles visible with strong lens and sparse very fine feldspar (<1%); open space texture in basalt matrix is diktytaxitic texture; caused by interstitial gas
V3-07Subaerial BasaltVesiculated or scoreacous basaltdark chocolate brown; aphanitic; 20% vesicles; broken sample (2 pieces)
V3-06Subaerial BasaltBasaltdark reddish grey; aphanitic; massive; dense; non-magnetic
T499 (WV 78-176-2) (missing)Subaerial BasaltEndako Group, Whitesail LakeRed vesicular to scoriacous basalt (sample missing)Eocenered colour is due to oxidation, very common in basalt flows and block flows; usually best developed at top of flow and as narrow zone at base
V3-05Subaerial BasaltNazko ConeBasalt brecciaQuaternarydark grey; chocolate brown weathering; aphanitic; <1% vesicles; fragments agglutinated together, a common texture in block lava flows
V3-04Subaerial BasaltNass RiverRopey basaltQuaternarydark chocolate brown; aphanitic; 5% vesicles
V3-03Subaerial BasaltChilcotinBasalt scoriaMiocenedark grey; no crystals; 15% elliptical vesicles
V3-02Subaerial BasaltOkanagan highlandsOlivine basaltTertiary5-10% olivine nodules (crystal aggregates) to 1 cm; derived from the mantle
V3-01Subaerial BasaltVesicular olivine basaltvery dark chocolate brown; 5% olivine; <1% feldspar; 2-3% vesicles
V2-18a (13/07/93)Explosive Silicic VolcanicsNE Arrow Lk, Nechako areaQuartz-kaolin sandstonelight grey and white salt-and-pepper texture; 1-2 mm size grains; quartz and kaolin clasts are derived from a rhyolite explosion and subsequently resorted by streams into quartz sandstone
V2-17a (08/07/93)missingArrow Lk, Nechako areaQuartz sandstone and siltstoneangular, chalkly-altered feldspar and rock fragments with quartz-eye grains; results from fluvial and lacustrine winnowing of an airfall tuff
V2-16a (16/07/93 KSN)Explosive Silicic VolcanicsRhyolite brecciafragments of grey welded tuff and beige rhyolite, including quartz-eye rhyolite; hard white matrix of broken crystal fragments; matrix is probably welded compacted volcanic glass
V2-15a (22/06 KSG)Explosive Silicic VolcanicsTuffpale mud-grey; low density; black fragments are carbonized plant material; probably an air fall unit
V2-14a (T0025B)Explosive Silicic VolcanicsTerrace Mountain, Okanagan areaB N ChurchAsh flow - laharTertiaryangular fragments of chilled rhyolite and dacite; crudely bedded with clasts aligned according to bedding but with no size sorting; interbedded fine ashey silts and breccia
V2-13aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsTuffaceous lake sedimentfossil wood impressions; explosive volcanic eruptions deposit abundant loose, unconsolidated material that is susceptible to immediate erosion, transportation downslope into rivers, lakes and basins
V2-12aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsAccretionary lapilli tuffconcentrically banded spheres (some broken) are "hailstones of rock" that form like hail, by accretion of ash and water in the turbulent thunderhead-like cloud that accompanies explosive rhyolite-dacite volcanism; may be far from the explosive vent; some cores are porous, hollow from evaporation of water;
V2-11aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsPumice
V2-10aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsTuffaceous mudstone15-20% irregular white fragments of pumice in brick red matrix; pumice may be carred far in an eruption; pumice clasts altered to laumontite (zeolite)
V2-09aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRed crystal tuff - tuffaceous mudstone4-5% feldspar crystals, sub-mm in size, irregular, broken, not well formed; likely broken by explosive event; air fall unit that may cover great extent, are moderately well-bedded and crumbly
V2-08aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite lapilli tuffheterolithic; crudely bedded; clasts tend to be rounded indicating material has been reworked
V2-07aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite lapilli tuffheterolithic, but clasts only comprise 5%; pale pink matrix is 95%; prominent manganese dendrites
V2-06aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite lapilli tuffheterolithic, 40% clasts are hematitic red, grey and off-white in pink matrix; lapilli refers to angular clasts to thumb size; these units form beneath, over and peripheral to the main ash-flow unit; may be coarse to well-bedded; many are air-fall units associated with an explosive event; size distribution is a crude indication of proximity to source
V2-04aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsWelded ash flow tuffstreaky; hard and tough; characterized by matrix that swirls around angular fragments, and presence of flattened wisps that are flattened pumice fragments (fiamme), degree of flattening varies; these units form sheets that may be of great extent (many 10's of kilometers) (3a & 5a are similar but missing)
V2-02aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite breccia75% clasts; 25% matrix; clast supported; complete size range from <1 mm to 5 cm; proximal breccia, the size of angular clasts in a chaotic array may indicate proximity to source of explosive volcanism; weak argillic alteration
V2-01aExplosive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite brecciamost clasts are the same but some are finely crystalline indicating brecciation did not occur in place; potential vent rock for ash tuff units
V1-15fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsLithophysae rhyolite15% gas cavities; caused by late phase boiling of gas out of the rhyolite; cavities commonly lined chalcedonic quartz (agate), quartz crystals, more rarely topaz; red stain may be due to fine hematite dust at top of flow
V1-14fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsFlow banded spheroidal rhyolite1 cm spherules in grey matrix; spherules are zone from white core to grey margin, are delicate and radiating, and obliterate flow banding
V1-13fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsQuartz-eye porphyry rhyolite (felsite)massive texture; limonite weathered surface; may represent feeder zone for rhyolite flows; rhyolite flows and ash flows may occur together from the same vent
V1-12fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsFlow banded rhyolite brecciachalky, kaolin ateration; cemented by fine, vuggy, banded quartz stockwork
V1-11fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsRhyolite breccia with opalpunky to sub-chalkly spotted alteration; cross-cutting opaline silica veins (low temperature)
V1-10fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsSpheroidal rhyolitewine red to grey spheroids with strong concentric banding; matrix is glassy, brittle and shows subconchoidal fractures; spherules consist of microcrystalline quartz and feldspar formed during devitrification of the original volcanic glass
V1-09fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsCoarse spheroidal rhyolite1-3 cm spheroids are zoned from pale grey core to dark grey rim; flow banding is obliterated by formation of spheroids
V1-08f (T498)Passive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsFlow banded rhyolite brecciaexceptional specimen; breccia zones are common in rhyolite lava flows; steam eruptions occur when rhyolite flows over water or from water in the lava itself; stockworks, veins and occassional flooding by silica may occur with propylite to argillic alteration
V1-07fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsSpheroidal rhyolite2-3 cm chocolate brown spherules in white matrix, resembles conglomerate
V1-06fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsSpheroidal rhyolite0.5 cm wine to hematite colour spherules in pale matrix; round spherules are common in rhyolite flows, ranging from pin-head to fist size; form by crystallization of glass after solidification, i.e. in solid state
V1-05fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsFlow banded rhyolite"clasts" are solidified rhyolite enveloped by fluidized, gas-charged molten material; weak argillic altered light bands and less altered dark bands, not a hydrothermal alteration
V1-04fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsFlow banded rhyoliterhyolite lavas commonly have a distinctive laminated colour banding that represents flow differentiation, may not be compositionally different; folds and contortions are due to turbulent flow, are not due to regional folding
V1-03fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsPerlitewine colour; colour zoned from honey margin to wine core; vitreous; aphanitic; colour difference from 02f may be due to differing oxidation state of a small amount of iron
V1-02fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsPerlitepearly lustre; does not break like glass; perlite is obsidian with contained water in the glass
V1-01fPassive Silicic VolcanicsT RichardsObsidiancommon in young volcanic flows; obsidian is volcanic glass rich in silica; will recrystallize over a few million years to opaque dense rhyolite or felsite; alters readily in presence of hot water as in hydrothermal system; concoidal, glass-like break is typical
T-13-07Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincSphalerite and fluoriteminor galena
T13-06Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincSkeletal galean and colloform sphaleritesphalerite is various shades of brown
T13-05Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincColloform sphaleritedelicately banded colloform sphalerite nucleated and grown around galena crystals; sphalerite is various shades of brown
T13-04Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincTri StateCrinoidal chert and massive galenaexceptional crinoid fossils; lesser silica oolites (or fusulinids); one tiny vug of recrystallized silica; sharp contact with coarse galena, 2-4 cm crystals
T13-03Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincDeardorff mineOolitic limestone in sharp contact with orelimestone contains 1% disseminated, interstitial galena; ore comprises coarse (cm size) crystals of sphalerite and lesser galena
T13-02Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincDeardorff mineOolitic limestone with sphaleritefootwall of orebody; disseminated honey-brown sphalerite; recrystallized pockets of vuggy crystalling calcite and sphalerite
T13-01Mississippi Valley Lead-ZincDeardorff mineFredonia limestoneoolites are mm size grains of calcium carbonate cemented together; this is the horizon that was replaced by fluorite, galena and sphalerite etc to form the orebody; sample taken from 6 ft below the ore; contains 0.5% disseminated galena

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