Fitzsimmons Fault

Fitzsimmons Fault

The fault that today separates Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain is a recurring geologic feature in the valley and around the townsite, marked by a series of mineral-rich rocks whose yellow cast is the result of sulfuric gasses circulating over thousands of years deep in the fault zone. It is named for prospector Jimmy Fitzsimmons, who hand-mined the fault’s upper reaches in the eponymous Fitzsimmons Valley, carrying dynamite to his copper claims on horses.

Protection and guardianship are at the heart of the Geopark philosophy. We ask that you treat the land with the same reverence as its original inhabitants, and not remove anything from a site but what you’ve brought to help preserve it for future generations.

  • natural dividing line between Whistler and Blackcomb
  • funky-coloured, mineral-rich rock
  • visible at many trail- and road-cuts

GEOLOGIC CONTEXT:

Also known as the Whistler Shear Zone, this fault area separates the magmatic rocks of Blackcomb Mountain from the accreted terrane on which Whistler Mountain is located.

HOW TO SEE IT:

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Most prominently visible as rock exposures along a 4-km stretch of Hwy 99 between the Creekside neighbourhood and Whistler Village, outcrops of the Fitzsimmons Fault are also visible along the Valley Trail and Westside Road. Parking is not permitted on Hwy 99, so roadside sites like those 30-metres south of the intersection of Hwy 99 and Blueberry Drive must be visited by self-propelled means.

Services:

None.

Hazards:

Highway and street traffic; stay well away from shoulders.

Decimal Degrees (DD)

50.109801, -122.970969

Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDM)

50° 6.5881' N  122° 58.2581' W

Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)

50° 6' 35.2836" N  122° 58' 15.4884" W

What Are Pillars?

The Fire & Ice Aspiring Geopark comprises four main geological pillars referenced in all interpretive material: (M)ountain Building, (G)laciation, (V)olcanism and (C)ollapse.

MOUNTAIN BUILDING

Mountain building can involve several processes that contribute to the formation of mountains, such as the collision of tectonic plates that result in folding, faulting, metamorphism and the creation of subduction zones associated with volcanic activity and igneous intrusion.

GLACIATION

Glaciation refers to landform phenomena associated with the formation, movement and recession of glaciers and ice sheets. In temperate latitudes such as British Columbia, montane glaciation at higher altitudes is the norm while continental glaciation occurred during Ice Ages like the recent Pleistocene.

VOLCANISM

Volcanism is the eruption of subterranean molten rock (magma) and gasses onto the surface of the planet and includes the production of volcanic landforms and the effects of eruptions and flowing lava on pre-existing surface formations.

COLLAPSE

Collapse is a term that refers broadly to both slow processes of destabilization and erosion by wind, water and ice, as well as rapid processes like rockfall and landslides.

Whether acting as primary or secondary forces, one or more of these processes figure in the creation of each geosite.