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Tag: snails

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