The Mamainse Point Area, Lake Superior, Ontario
Along the eastern shore of Lake Superior between Sault Ste. Marie and Agawa Bay, Highway 17 traverses a variety of rock types from the Precambrian. Northward from Batchawana Bay, the highway generally follows the shoreline, providing spectacular vistas from the roadway and from lakeside parking areas. This area is part of the Great Lakes Heritage Coast project recently launched by the Government of Ontario, covering 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) of coastline along the upper Great Lakes.
Late Proterozoic, Keweenawan-age flood basalts are exposed in road cuts and along the shoreline of Lake Superior between Pancake Bay and Alona Bay, a distance of some 32 kilometers (20 miles). The area is known for the occurrence of native copper, originally mined by aboriginal peoples as early as 2000 B.C.
More than 300 lava flows are recorded in the shore section at Mamainse Point, striking in arcuate fashion from north-northwest to west-northwest and dipping approximately 30 degrees west. The flows are interlayered with polymictic conglomerate and intruded by small bodies of felsite. Quartz-feldspar porphyry and flow-banded rhyolite are also present, as are rare volcaniclastic horizons and mafic intrusives. Copper occurs principally in the form of chalcocite, in zones of fracturing and faulting, along with minor amounts of chalcopyrite, bornite and native copper.
Geological maps of this historic area are avilabale for viewing at the office of the District Geologist at 70 Forest Drive in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Call: 705/945-6931.
Visit the World Heritage site of the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park in southeastern British Columbia. This locale is ideal for hiking and camping, and is located in the British Columbia Rocky Mountains in the middle of a territory with exceptional views. Of course the Cambrian Burgess Shale fossils are unique internationally and are a major attraction for geoscientists and the public alike. Regretfully, I believe access to the main fossil site is restricted, but there are other opportunities for hikers and visitors in the surrounding mountainous areas.
This site has exceptional hiking and camping opportunities, and presents a unique opportunity to view a successful modern mining operation in the middle of an exceptional Provincial Park. In addition, this is a wonderful opportunity for geoscientists to familiarize themselves with the geology of Vancouver Island, which is integral to the history of the western margin of North America. Within the park and nearby are fossil locations, mineral occurrences and interesting geological sites. The following Web sites contain geological maps, illustrations and photos.