Mt. Garibaldi/Nch’Kay’

Mt. Garibaldi/Nch’Kay’

Designated in 1927 as B.C.’s first such set-aside, the 1,980 sq. km Garibaldi Provincial Park’s eponymous centrepiece, Mt. Garibaldi, is a large stratovolcano in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt rising above the town of Squamish. It is known both for high-quality exposures of its internal structure, as well as conspicuous topographic anomalies attributable to the volcano’s growth onto a large, pre-existing glacier system. followed by the sequential ice-melt collapse of its flanks over thousands of years. Up to 20 major landslides from the degrading peak have contributed to the debris field known as the Cheekye Fan—with the possibility of another continuing to pose a considerable geohazard.

Despite its prominence as the largest volcano in southern B.C., most Vancouver residents are unaware that Mt. Garibaldi (Nch’Kay’—“dirty water” or “grimy one” in the language of the Squamish Nation) is closer than the more readily visible Mt. Baker in Washington State. In addition to Nch’Kay’, other prominent volcanic features in Garibaldi Provincial Park include Opal Cone, Cinder Cone, Mount Price, Columnar Peak, Glacier Pikes, Round Mountain, Black Tusk, Clinker Peak, The Table, Atwell Peak, Dalton Dome and obsidian mining sites utilized by First Nations.

  • prominent stratovolcano
  • extensive glaciation
  • collapse and continued landslide potential

GEOLOGIC CONTEXT:

A prominent stratovolcano that grew above a large glacial complex and whose flanks collapsed sequentially as the ice melted back.

HOW TO SEE IT:

Access points into Garibaldi Provincial Park include, north to south, Wedgemount Lake trailhead, Cheakamus Lake trailhead, Rubble Creek/Garibaldi Lake trailhead, and Diamond Head/Elfin Lakes trailhead. The latter provided access for those interested in climbing Mt. Garibaldi, which requires a two-three-day commitment.

Services:

Parking, washrooms at all trailheads.

Hazards:

Wilderness backcountry and high-mountain hazards of rockfall, avalanches and crevasses; sensitive alpine ecosystems; stay on marked trails where appropriate.

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.

Decimal Degrees (DD)

49.851293, -123.004689

Degrees Decimal Minutes (DDM)

49° 51.0776' N   123° 0.2813' W

Degrees Minutes Seconds (DMS)

49° 51' 4.6548" N  123° 0' 16.8804" 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.