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Tag: Haslam Formation

January 23 field trip

Change of plan. The roads in the woods are apparently quite wet, so in the interest of safety and actually reaching our destination, we’re moving to plan B. Boomerang Lake will wait for us.

Annual membership renewal for 2022 is this month; dues must be paid up to attend fieldtrips. Please see the membership page for methods of payment.

Field Trip – Mt. Tzouhalem

When: Sunday, January 23, 2022

Travel: 9 am, meet at Helmcken Park & Ride. Arrive at Java World in Duncan by 10 am to meet participants from the Duncan area, then proceed to the mountain. Return to Park & Ride between 3 – 4 pm. Field trip and return times are approximate, subject to Malahat access and return traffic, which can be unpredictable.

Exposure: Mount Tzouhalem is a high point of land that overlooks Cowichan Bay. Much of the mountain is forested, and some of it is protected by an ecological reserve, but the northern side of the mountain, originally intended as a golf course, is slowly being developed into single family homes. High on the mountain, in undeveloped areas, fossils are found in the rock and in concretions; hiking steep inclines is required. Where subdivision construction is in progress, lower down, fossils can be collected on newly excavated flat lots and in debris piles beside newly paved streets with ample parking. The matrix is black shale, ranging from very hard to extremely friable. Preservation of shell is typically black in colour. Fossils at this locality are characteristic of the older part of the Haslam, including the typical ammonites (Haeuriceras, Eupachydiscus, and the heteromorphs Eubostrychoceras and Glyptoxoceras). A wide variety of clams and snails can also be found. Along with the more standard fare, the exposures here have yielded some rarities, such as the crinoids Uintacrinus and the spiny ammonite Urakawites, which are unknown from most other Haslam localities. In 2021 an impression of Pseudoxybeleceras was collected, which is pending donation to the Royal BC Museum. Plant material is common in some areas, mainly Metasequoia (dawn redwood); a well-preserved flowering cone collected at the site by a VicPS member, also donated to the RBCM.

Equipment: A good hammer, chisel, and protective eyewear are recommended, as is a glue/water solution to stabilize fragile pieces and newsprint or paper towel for wrapping. Masking tape is useful to secure a wrapped specimen and to accept a description of where and when it was found. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for all weather (rain, wind) and bring drinking water and snacks.

RSVP: Jerri Wilkins, Field Trip Lead, via the VicPS Facebook page or via email at

VicPS meeting Wednesday, January 12, 7 pm

Our first meeting of 2022 is PARTICIPATORY!!.

The evening will be structured around a photo tour of the 2021 field trip season, emphasizing specimens collected.  We’ll tap into our collective knowledge to understand the sites and fossils found.

To participate:

  1. Review the list below of sites/formations visited in 2021,
  2. Dive into your collection and select a few corresponding fossils (many of you have visited these sites/formations over the years!),
  3. Accept the Zoom meeting notice sent to paid VicPS members, and
  4. Show upshare the specimens and knowledge you’ve collected over the years, and help identify specimens.

Field Trip participants, please have your specimens on hand for show and tell.

List of VicPS 2021 Field Trip Locales:

  • Muir Creek – Sooke Formation
  • Northwest Bay – Pender (?) Formation
  • Chemainus River – Haslam Formation
  • Stephenson’s Point – Comox Formation
  • Ladysmith – Thicke Road area (Upper Comox (?), Lower Haslam (?)

See you Wednesday at the Zoom meeting!

Nov. 22 field trip

When: 8:00AM, Sunday, November 22, 2020

Where: Dumont Road, Nanaimo

Directions: Meet at Helmcken Park & Ride at 8:00am. COVID-19 protocols remain in effect; masks during meet and greet and travel via separate vehicles.

Exposure: Dumont Road is the site of two quarries containing exposures of the Late Cretaceous Haslam Formation, where beautiful white fossils of the the ammonites Canadoceras and Pseudoschloenbachia, numerous bivalves and gastropods and other diverse fossils have been found, along with occasional plant material.  The lower of the two quarries is now a motocross track and practice may be taking place so awareness and caution are needed.  The upper quarry hasn’t been excavated in many years, but preserves a slightly different fauna – perhaps younger? – than that of the lower quarry.

Equipment: Fossils are found in the rock and in concretions, so a good hammer or sledge, chisel, and protective eyewear are required. It’s a hillside, so expect to ascend and descend slopes with some significant elevation gain, with some uneven footing, but as sites go, it’s an easy walk. Dress for the season and bring lunch and water.

Contact: RSVP Jerri Wilkins, Field Trip Lead, via the VicPS Facebook page or via email.

Sep. 27 Field Trip

When: Sunday, Sept 27, 2020

Where: Chemainus River

Directions: Meet at Helmcken Park & Ride at 9am. Carpooling optional/personal decision; masks must be worn if/while carpooling, social distancing mandatory throughout the field trip.

Exposure: Cliffs along the deep canyon of the Chemainus River expose the black mudstones of the Haslam Formation, an ancient marine environment deposited in the Upper Cretaceous (85MY before present). Fossils can be found high above on the cliff face and loose in the steep piles of scree stretching to river level. Fossil are common in large and small concretions and in situ on this stretch of the river.

Many of the fossils of the Haslam Formation are representatives of extinct animal groups which have no modern counterparts. The ancient Haslam environment was a shallow sea populated by molluscs, fishes, and giant marine reptiles. Some of the fossils, such as clams and snails, are similar to their modern relatives, but others, such as the extinct ammonites, provide an excellent opportunity to explore changing life and environment over geological time.

Contact: RSVP Jerri Wilkins via the VicPS Facebook page or via email.

November 25th 2018 field trip

When: Sunday, November 25th, 2018, 9:00 am

Directions: Meet at the Helmcken Road Park and Ride at 9:00 am to arrange carpooling.

This field trip is suitable for collectors of all ages and activity levels. Fossils are found in the rock and concretions at the site, so a good hammer or sledge, chisel, and protective eyewear are required.

Clothing: Footwear should be appropriate for rocky and sometimes muddy conditions.  Be aware that this site has undergone significant terraforming, so you should expect to be walking on rocks and boulders that can be slippery and treacherous. Dress in layers to adapt to sun, clouds or wind. Rain gear packed and ready is always smart. As we post this notice, the long range forecast for the site is 20% POP and light winds. Bring water and snacks.

Contact: RSVP Jerri Wilkins via the VicPS Facebook page or via email at for more specific details about our planned fossil hunting location.

June 24 field trip debrief: Chemainus River

Members who enjoyed the field trip to the Chemainus River report finds of glypoxoceras  pieces, tesserolax spine, inoceramus, spenoceramus, scallop shell about thumbnail size with hinge, and bottom third of a leaf.

The next field trip should take place toward the end of July; we’ll post with details when it’s planned.

Date:  Sunday, June 24th, 2018

Meeting Location and Time:  Helmcken Road Park and Ride at 09:00 AM.

Safety: This is a river site, so you should expect:

  1. it is likely that you will have to wade and get wet,
  2. rocks can be slippery and treacherous, and
  3. you should never wander off alone. Cliffs at this site are high and dangerous. There are past reports of fossil collectors experiencing injuries and near-injuries resulting from falling rocks.

Equipment: Fossils are usually found in concretions that fall out of the cliffs, so a good
hammer or sledge and protective eyewear are required.

Please see the email to Society members for a good description of the location and what you may expect to find.