Participants in the Smithers Exploration Group Geo Crawl are rewarded with a mini mineral set. (File photo)

Geotour goes high tech

Visiting geologists use the latest photography techniques to document local geological features

The Smithers Exploration Group (SEG) is getting a little high tech help taking its Hazelton Geotour to the next level.

The self-guided tour is a two-day road trip through approximately 250 million years of Bulkley Valley Geological history.

Last week, geologists from BelowBC, an public education an outreach group from down south similar to SEG, were in the area meticulously documenting the more than 30 sites on the tour from Topley to the Hazeltons.

Using a robotic arm, Jacob Moffat and Pranjali Pande were able to take hundreds of pictures of sites and rock outcrops in a precise grid pattern.

When seamlessly stitched together using software to create what they call a “gigapan image,” viewers can look at the entirety of the outcrop or zoom in to look at individual sections in stunning detail, take geological measurements and study both large and small-scale features.

Furthermore, back at the SEG offices on Fulton Avenue, Moffat and Pande took both 360-degree and macro photographs of rock and mineral samples from the sites.

These will be embedded into the gigapan images so researchers, prospectors and students can dig even deeper into the geology.

They also assessed the sites for safety and will be adding that information to the tour as well.

Moffat was impressed with the tour.

“It’s so beautiful here… and so much geology, you can see a vast, wide variety of geology in an hour and a half or something like that,” he said.

Currently, the Hazelton Geotour is available as a .pdf file from the SEG and is also online on the BelowBC website ( linked to their interactive geological map with detailed descriptions of the sites and some static photos of outcrops and a few 360-degree photos of rock samples.

READ MORE: Smithers tour highlights importance of mining

Eventually, all the work BelowBC was doing here will all be part of the interactive map.

Essentially, even someone who is not able to physicially come to the valley will be able to take the tour.

The SEG also has its Geo Crawl ongoing. The 12-stop self-guided tour of the town highlights the importance of mining in day-to-day lives. Participants are rewarded with an SEG mini-mineral set.

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