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Report on an Exploration of the Finlay and Omenica rivers McConnell, R. G. (Richard George), 1857-1942; Dawson, George Mercer, 1849-1901 1896

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G. M. DAWSON, C.M.G., LL.D., P.R.S., Dibectoe
1896  George^M. Dawson, C.M.G., LL.D., E.R.S.,
Director of the Geological Survey of Canada.
Sir,—I beg to present herewith a report, accompanied by a map,
on^the Omenica and Finlay Rivers, based on field-work carried out by
myself, and by Mr. H. Y. Russel who acted as my assistant, during
the season of 1893.
I have the honour to be, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Geological Survey Office, 30th Nov., 1895.
H Note.—Thebearings given in this report are all referred to the true
Meridian. REPORT
The following report on the Omenica and Finlay rivers is based on Preparations
an exploration carried out during the year 1893. Quesnel, on the "or -6 ]0ur"
Fraser, was selected as the base of operations. That point was reached
on the 24th of May, but owing to the scarcity of competent canoemen,
and to delays in obtaining tiansport for supplies to Eort McLeod, we
were detained there until the 9th of June. The party consisted, besides myself, of Mr. H. Y. Russel, who acted as topographer, and four
canoemen (two Indians, one half-breed, and one white man). From
Quesnel we proceeded up the Fraser River to the Giscome Portage,
where we arrived on the 23rd of June. A portage-road here, seven Route fol-
miles and a half in length, connects the Fraser River with Summitlowed-
Lake, one of the sources of Peace River. The portage was made in
two days and a half. From Summit Lake we followed a chain of small
lakes connected by small, crooked, and at times exceedingly swift
streams down to Fort McLeod, which we reached on the 28th of June.
Our supplies, which had been sent overland by pack-train from Quesnel,
were delayed owing to the flooded condition of the rivers, and did not
arrive until a week later. On the 6th of July we started down McLeod Lake River and the Parsnip, carrying our summer's supplies, in
two Peterborougli canoes, and a canvas canoe which we had fitted up
while waiting at Fort McLeod. The mouth of the Parsnip, our objective point, was reached on the following day.*
The Parsnip, coming from the south, and the Finlay from the northwest, meet near the western base of the Rocky Mountains, and the
united streams, bending to the east, break through that range and
traverse the great central plain of the continent in a northerly direction under the various names of Peace, Slave and Mackenzie rivers.
*The I'oute followed from Giscome Portage to the mouth of the Parsnip, was
examined by Dr. A. R. C. Selwyn in 1S75, and is described by him in the report of
the Geological Survey for that year, pp. 37-41 and 64-07. 6 c
Character of
nature of
Peace River was descended as far as the foot-hills bordering the
Rocky Mountains on the east, and a hasty examination of the structure
of the range and of its various geological components was made. After
returning to the Parsnip-Finlay Forks, the latter stream was ascended
to the mouth of the Omenica, the first considerable tributary which it
receives. An ascent of the Omenica was then made to a point above
the Omenica-Sitleka Pass. On the way up visits were made to the
Germansen Creek, Manson Creek, and other old gold mining camps of
the region, all now nearly abandoned. A traverse was also made of
one of the passes leading from the Omenica River to Tacla Lake.
The examination of the Omenica River occupied about three weeks.
After completing, it we returned to our cache which we had previously
constructed at its mouth, and on the 5th of August commenced the
ascent of the main branch of the Finlay. Fort Grahame was reached
on the 8th, the forks, or the junction of the Qua-da-cha (white water)
with the Finlay, on the 21st, and the Fishing Lakes above the long
series of rapids at the " Bend," on the 28th of August. The latter
part of the journey was- made on foot, owing to the almost unnavigable
condition of the river.
A couple of days were spent in climbing the mountains in the vicinity
of the Fishing Lakes, after which the return journey was commenced.
The mouth of the Finlay was reached on the 14th of September and
Quesnel on the 1st of October.
The exploration was necessarily carried out in a somewhat hurried
manner, owing to the shortness of the season available for work, and
the time occupied in making the long journey from Quesnel to the field
of operations. About nine weeks in all were spent on the Finlay and
its branches, but as considerable time was lost in making return trips
over the same routes, and on account of bad weather, barely six weeks
were left for effective work.
The region drained by the Finlay and its branches is characterized
throughout by its mountainous character; with the exception of the
narrow flats bordering the principal rivers, no plains of any magnitude
were anywhere observed. The eastern branches drain the western
slope of a portion of the Rocky Mountains proper, while the western
branches head in a confused medley of nameless ranges, lying to the
east of Tacla Lake and its feeders. The mountains have a fairly
uniform height of about 4000 feet above the bottoms of the main
valleys. Glaciers occur at the head of the Qua-da-cha River in the
Rocky Mountains, and also on the Peak Mountains west of the Fishing
Lakes.    The rivers, as a rule, are swift and interrupted by frequent MCCONNELU.
rapids, but gently flowing lake-like expansions of considerable length
occur on both the Finlay and the Omenica. Coniferous forests, unvary- Forests,
ing in their monotony, extend over hill and valley throughout the district, up to a height of about 5200 feet above the sea. The principal
varieties observed were the white and black spruces (Picea alba and
Picea nigra), the balsam fir (abies subalpina), the black pine (Pinus
Mnrrayana), and the larch (Larix Americana). Broad-leaved trees
are represented by the aspen (Populus tremuloides), the balsam poplar
(Populus balsami/era), the birch (Betula papyri/era), and varieties of
willow and alder.
Description of Routes.
Omenica River.
The Omenica River was brought into prominence by the discovery Omenica
of gold on Silver Creek, one of its branches, by Ezra Evans, " Twelve- Klver-
foot Davis " and a party of prospectors in 1868. On the announcement of the discovery of gold, miners flocked into the country by
hundreds, and for some time the population of the district was estimated at from 1200 to 1500. It reached its maximum about 1879,
and has since, as the creeks became exhausted, gradually declined.
At the present time there are scarcely twenty whites in the whole
Very few accounts by actual explorers have been published on the Previous ex-
Omenica country. Captain (now Sir W. F.) Butler ascended the Ploratlon-
lower part of the river in 1873, and describes it in his book entitled
the Wild North Land (p. 274-309), and Mr. Horetzky explored the part
between Hogem and Germansen Creek in 1879 (Report Canadian
Pacific Railway, 1880, p. 82-83). In 1891 a party sent out by the
British Columbia Government attempted to ascend the river, but turned
back near the mouth of the Oslinca.
The Omenica joins the Finlay from the west, about fifteen miles Character of
above the junction of the latter with the Parsnip, and is by far its rlver-
largest tributary. From its mouth to the Black Canon, a distance of
five miles, its course is about 30° south of west. The stream is
shallow in this reach and its current is extremely swift, the slope of
the bed exceeding ten feet to the mile. Numerous gravel bars and
islands, covered in places by huge drift-piles, obstruct the course of the
stream, and divide it in places into several channels.
At the Black Canon, the Omenica cuts through a ridge of gneiss. Black Canon.
The Canon is about half a mile in length and varies in width from 8 c
above the
Black Canon.
Rapid character of
one to two hundred feet. Its walls are usually nearly vertical and in
places exceed 150 feet in height. In low water, the navigation of the
Canon is reported to be easy, but in seasons of flood the swoollen
stream is partly dammed back, and its effort to force a way through
the narrow channel is attended with the production of such whirlpools and billows that its passage with large boats is exceedingly difficult and with small boats is impossible. The Omenica was still high
when we reached the Canon, and after an examination it was decided
to make a portage. A trail was cut along the north bank, and the
portage was made in less than a day. The ridge through which the
Omenica cuts at the Cafion increases rapidly in height to the north,
and develops into a mountain range the peaks of which exceed 5000
feet in height.    Southward the ridge soon dies away.
Above the Black Canon the valley is closed in for a mile or more by
steep cliffs of sandstones, clays and conglomerates between which the
stream rushes with torrential speed. Further up the stream bends to the
north-west and follows parallel to the direction of the mountain ranges
of the district, the rocky walls disappear, and the river, freed from
confinement, enlarges to twice its former width. Above the bend the
river follows a wide valley between the mountains as far the mouth of
Tchutetzeca, a distance of ten miles. The Omenica in this reach
is wide and swift; no rapids were met with, but short and strong
" riffles," exceedingly difficult to ascend, occur every few hundred
yards. A notable feature of the river here is the great drift-piles of
logs which have been heaped up by the rapid current at all the bends,
and on the heads of the numerous gravel-bars and islands around
which the stream divides. The Tchutetzeca, a rapid stream about
150 feet wide, comes in from the north-west down the same valley
occupied by the Omenica above the Cafion. It has not yet been
Above the mouth of the Tchutetzeca the Omenica leaves the longitudinal valley followed below, and bends to the west. The declivity
and current increase, and for some miles the river is simply a wild torrent plunging in a succession of rapids from bar to bar. The ascent of
this portion of the river proved a matter of no ordinary difficulty.
The tracking-line could not be used owing to the beaches being
covered b}' high water, and the strength of the current rendered
poling in many places equally impracticable. At the worst places
wading in the ice cold water and pulling the canoes up foot by foot
against the foaming stream, at the risk of stumbling on hidden and
slippery boulders paving the channel, proved the only practicable
means of ascent.    Our progress here was very slow, and for some days ucconnell.j DESCRIPTION   OF   ROUTES. »   C
we scarcely averaged five miles per day. Five miles above the mouth
of the Tchutetzeca, the Oslinca the largest tributary of the Omenica,
comes in from the north. This stream is nearly equal in size to the
main branch. It drains a large area of mountainous country lying
between the Omenica and the south branch of the Finlay, all of which
is practically unknown.
Above the mouth of the Oslinca, the Omenica cuts through a gneissic Little Canon,
band, and for some miles lofty ranges of mountains press.close down to
the banks of the river. Six miles above the Oslinca, a contraction in
the valley occurs, which is known as the Little Canon. At this point
the river makes a sharp double bend and strikes with its whole force
against.two points of gneissic rock which jut out in succession from
either bank. The Little Canon is comparatively easy to ascend, as the
tracking-line can be used all the way by crossing the stream between
the two rocks, but is dangerous to run at high water. It was at this
point that Pete Toy, the Cornish miner (see Wild North Land, p. 291),
who so efficiently assisted Capt. Butler at the Black Cafion, afterwards
lost his life.
Above the Little Canon the current of the river sensibly diminishes. Current di-
Rifiies are still numerous, but they occur at longer intervals, and with mlmshes-
few exceptions are of inconsiderable fall.    Nine miles above the Little
Cafion quiet water was reached, and we were able for the first time to
proceed with paddles.
From the mouth of the Omenica to the head of the swift portion of Grade of
the river, is a  distance of about thirty-five miles.    The difference in
elevation of the two points is approximately 425 feet, giving the river
an inclination in this reach of about twelve feet to the mile, an excep-
tionably high grade for a stream of this size.
From the head of the rapid water to Germansen Landing at the
mouth of Germansen Creek, a distance of twelve miles, with the exception of a few small riffles the current is easy, from two to three
miles an hour. The river has a width of about 100 yards, and for
part of the way becomes very tortuous, winding from side to side of
the wide flats which now border it. Before reaching Germansen
Creek the Omenica turns almost due west and continues in this direction for many miles.
Germansen Landing, in the old days was a place of considerable im- Cermansen
portance, as most of the supplies for the Germansen and Manson Creek Landing,
camps  were brought from Tacla Lake across to the Omenica, floated
down the stream in bouts and landed here for distribution.    In recent 10   C FINLAY   AND   OMENICA   RIVERS.
years this route has been abandoned, and such supplies as are needed
for the few remaining miners are brought in by pack-train.
Trail to Man- A trip was made on foot from the Landing to Manson Creek. The
son Cree t. tra,i\t onf;e trodden deep by gold-seekers, is now scarcely distinguishable
in places, and in others is badly blocked by fallen timber. It leads
across a burnt plateau for a couple of miles, and then descends into
the (Jeep valley of Germansen Creek. Extensive mining operations
were once carried on at this point, but have long since ceased. A
few deserted houses and some decaying flumes remain to tell the story
of a brief activity and a sudden death. A mile farther up, the ' trail
crosses Germansen Creek, at a place where the stream is closely confined between two rocky walls, by a dilapidated-looking bridge consisting of a single half rotten stringer bent downward under the weight
of a number of dependant fragments. From the bridge we followed
a rough trail along the east side of the stream to a mining camp which
still preserves^ some signs of life. Three white men and one China-
Gold on Ger- man were found here. Gold on Germansen Creek has been obtained
mansenCreek, i^^ from rjVer-flats and bars, and from gravels underlying the boulder-
clay and referred to the early part of the glacial period. The flats
have been worked out, but extensive areas of the auriferous glacial
gravels are still untouched. Some work was being done on the latter
at the time of our visit, but on too limited a scale to afford satisfactory
results. Above the mining camp, the trail leaves Germansen Creek,
crosses a ridge about 1300 feet high and theu descends into the valley
of Slate Creek, a tributary of Manson Creek. Two miles farther on
we reached the town of Manson, situated on Manson Creek, formerly
the richest creek in the district.
Gold on Man- Gold was first found on Manson Creek in 1891, and for two or three
years the bars proved exceedingly productive, but since then the yield
has been gradually diminishing, and at the present time the little
work that is being done barely pays expenses. Gold was found in
paying quantity along the bed of the creek for a couple of miles, and
also in two of the tributary valleys. The glacial gravels here, as in
Germansen Creek, are auriferous and have been worked to some extent,
and it is highly probable that a large proportion of the gold found in
the bed of the stream is concentrated from these deposits.
Trails. Manson Creek is connected by trail with Quesnel by way of Stuart
Lake, and with Hazel ton on the Skeena by way of Tom's Cieek and
Tacla Lake, but the former trail, and the latter for part of the way,
are in a bad state of repair, and mining operations are greatly hampered by the high freight charges on supplies. The rate from Hazelton,
the cheapest route, amounts at present to 17 cents per pound. MCCONNELL
We returned from Manson Creek by the same route and continued
up the Omenica. —
Above the mouth of Germansen Creek the Omenica occupies a wide
valley, bottomed in places by marshy flats, behind which appear ranges
of high mountains. The current for a considerable distance, except
for. a couple of short riffles, is easy, and in places the stream has a
lake-like appearance. The change in the character of the river from Character of
the high grades and rocky bottoms which prevail in the lower reaches,
to the slight inclination and basin-like alluvium-filled depression which
it occupies here, point to crustal movements of some magnitude for
their explanation.
Slack current on the Omenica continues nearly to New Hogem, a
distance, measured along the valley, of about twenty-three miles. The
length of the river is fully one-third more, as in places it becomes very
tortuous. Above New Hogem the Omenica enters a granite area and
a rapid current is again encountered, which continued to Old Hogem,
a distance of eight miles.
The character of the country through which the Omenica flows, Mountains
with the exception of a few miles at its mouth, is everywhere mountainous. A range culminating in peaks exceeding 5000 feet in height,
crosses the river a few miles above the canon and extends far to the
northward. West of this range the elevations are lower and have a
more irregular distribution, but long before reaching Tacla Lake high
rocky peaks again dominate the landscape.
From the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains west to Tacla Lake Absence of
(the western limit of the exploration), with the exception of the long- l"ains.
itudinal valleys of the Finlay River and Tacla Lake, no flat  lands of
any importance are met with.    The whole region is ridged up into a
succession of lofty ranges.    The valleys and  the lower slopes of the
mountains are, as a rule, densely timbered with the monotonous evergreen forest so prevalent in the north.    The principal varieties are the
white spruce (Picea alba) and  the  black  pine (Pinus  Murrayana).
The latter is usually found on dry sandy and gravelly flats and ridges. yorest.
The   smooth-   and   rough-barked   poplars   (Populus   tremidoides   and
P. balsamifera) occur in some abundance locally, but are usually confined to the valley.   The summits of all the higher mountains are bare,
as the forest seldom ascends in this region beyond  an  elevation  of
5200 feet.
Above Old Hogem the Omenica bends more to the north and runs Trail to Tacla
nearly parallel to the strike of the rocks.     As little geological infor- Lake,
mation was obtainable by following the river, it was decided to leave 12   C FINLAY  AND   OMENICA  RIVERS.
it and to make a traverse on foot to Tacla Lake across the strike of
the rocks. The old trail from Hogem to Vital Creek is still in good
condition. From Vital Creek to Tom's Creek the trail is little used,
but for the remainder of the distance on to Tacla Lake a good trail
has been recently built by the Provincial Government in order to
facilitate communication with the mining camp at Tom's Creek. The
trail leaves the Omenica at Old Hogem and follows up the valley of
Vital Creek. Silver Creek to Vital Creek, a tributary of the latter, passing over
sandy and gravelly flats, forested with black pine, most of the way.
Before reaching Vital Creek the trail leaves the wide valley of the
Omenica and enters the mountains. Vital Creek is a rapid mountain
stream twenty or thirty feet wide and four or five miles long. Gold
was discovered on it in 1869, and it has been worked more or less ever
since, but latterly with but little profit.
Gold on Vital Three white men, including Mr. Vital the discoverer, and some
Chinamen, were engaged on it at the time of our visit, but they did
not speak hopefully of their prospects, and the stream may be regarded
as worked out. A considerable quantity of silver amalgam (arquerite)
has been found with the gold in the alluvial washings on Vital Creek.
It has not been found in situ. ,
From Vital Creek the trail follows up Silver Creek for a couple of
miles, and then turns westward up a branch running parallel to Vital
Creek. Three miles from Silver Creek the valley widens out, and
for some miles its bottom is filled with a succession of small lakes
Tom's Creek, connected by short winding streams. Nine miles from Silver Creek
we reached Tom's Creek, a small mountain stream coming from the
south. Tom's Creek, as an auriferous stream, was not discovered until
1889, and was practically worked out during the years 1890-91-92.
In 1892, about a dozen white men and Indians and a few Chinamen
were at work on it, but few of the claims did much more than pay
expenses. The discovery of an auriferous stream like Tom's Greek,
close to Vital Creek, twenty years after the finding of gold on the
latter, shows what a small proportion of the country has yet been
thoroughly prospected.
From Tom's Creek we followed up the wide valley of Kenny Creek
for nine miles, passing several small lakes on the way, to the summit
of the pass between the Omenica and Tacla Lake. The elevation of
the summit is approximately 1644 feet above Tacla Lake, or 3915
feet above the sea. After crossing the summit, the track followed for
a short distance a stream flowing towards Tacla Lake; then, after
crossing a spur from the mountains, it descends rapidly towards Tacla UcCONnell.] FINLAY   RIVER. 13   C
Lake, reaching the latter about half a mile below the old landing.
Three miles from the landing a sharp descent of 700 feet was made
over the face of an escarpment running parallel with the lake.
Tacla Lake is one of those long narrow bodies of water so prevalent Tacla Lake,
throughout British Columbia.    It occupies a great longitudinal valley,
running parallel  with that at the western base of the Rocky Mountains which now holds the Finlay and Parsnip.    The two valleys are
separated by about eighty miles of rough mountainous country.
Tacla Lake was not examined except for three or four miles south of
the landing. It is from two to three miles in width, and is bordered
on both sides by heavily timbered flats several miles wide. It is separated from Babine Lake, which occupies a somewhat similar valley
farther to the west, by the Fire-pan Mountains.
The most notable feature of the country in the latitude of the Mountainous
Omenica and Finlay rivers, or from latitude 55° 30' to latitude 57° or 00un'*y-
beyond, is its universal mountainous character. In this latitude, the
whole country from the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains westward to the Pacific Ocean is destitute of plains of any considerable
extent, and with the exception of the breaks where the region is
crossed by the valleys mentioned above, is covered with a succession
of mountains and mountain ranges varying in height from 3000 to
5000 feet above the valleys. In no other part of British Columbia is
the country so persistently mountainous across the whole Cordilleran
Finlay River.
The Finlay River is named  after John Finlay, who ascended it in Finlay River.
1824 in the interests of the North-west Company.    The journal  kept
by Mr. Finlay on this journey has never been published.    It is now at
Cumberland House in the possession of Mr. James McDougall of  the
Hudson Bay Co., where it was seen and some extracts taken from it Previous ex-
by Mr. J. B. Tyrrell in 1894.    Miners are also reported to have as- l,loratlon-
cended the river to varying distances during the Omenica excitement,
and in 1891  an exploring  expedition sent  by the British Columbia
Government ascended it to Fort Grahame a distance of about forty-five
The Finlay River is much the larger of the two streams which form General char-
Peace River, and is practically the upper part of that river.    It has a fav River""1" 14 c
Current a
total length of about 310 miles,* and ranges in width from thirty
yards, where it issues from the expansion at the Fishing Lakes, to 300
yards near its mouth. The Finlay drains a region which is everywhere of a mountainous character and is itself bordered throughout
the whole of its course by lofty mountain ranges. Its navigation, for
two hundred miles above its mouth, with the exception of one cafion
half a mile in length, is easy, the current seldom exceeding five miles
an hour, but farther up, its course is interrupted for many miles by a
long succession of canons and rapids. Its branches interlock with
tributaries of the Skeena, Stikine and Liard rivers, and low passes
through the mountains from one basin to the other are not uncommon.
nd The Finlay River from its mouth to its junction with the Omenica,
winds through a wide flat, skirting the western base of the Rocky
Mountains. It has a width in places of 300 yards or more, but is
usually divided into several channels by islands and gravel bars. The
current is easy, averaging about three miles an hour at a medium stage
of water. The bars along this stretch of the river are all auriferous,
and one of them, called Pete Toy's Bar after the discoverer, yielded
a large amount of gold in the early days of mining in the country.
The gold in this reach is probably mostly derived from the Omenica.
The Omenica River contributes about one-fifth of the whole water
of the Finlay, at its confluence. A mile above the Omenica, the
Ospica joins the Finlay from the east. It enters the latter in two
branches each about a hundred feet wide. The Ospica was ascended
and prospected by a party of miners some years ago, but no paying
bars were discovered. It runs in a southerly direction, and cuts off
a long rounded ridge from the main range of the Rockies. Above the
Ospica River. Ospica, the Finlay runs, with the exception of one bend, in a nearly
straight direction for twelve miles. It has a width here of about 200
yards and a current of scarcely two miles an hour, the slowest in the
whole course of the river. It occupies a depression about four miles
in width, bounded on the west by a gneissic ridge which commences
at'the Black Canon on the Omenica and runs northward with gradually increasing height, and on the east by the rounded ridge which
^.*The total length of the Finlay-Peace-Mackenzie watercourse is approximately
2362 miles, made up as follows :—
Finlay River  310
Peace     757
Slave       „      240
Great Slave Lake       90
Mackenzie River 965   ,
15   C
separates the Ospica from the Finlay.    The latter is overlooked, farther Finlay Valley,
to the east, by the peaks and ridges of the main range of the Rocky
The depression in which the Finlay flows, is floored with a varying
thickness of sands, clays and gravels, forming a forested plain, in
which the river has cut a valley to a depth of about a hundred feet.
No rock is exposed along this part of the river. The material shown Absence of
in the banks of the valley contains numerous scratched and polished J^^ *
pebbles and boulders, and is evidently of glacial origin, but appears in
some instances to have been redistributed. Above the straight reach
just described, on to Fort Grahame, a distance of about twenty-one
miles in a straight line, the Finlay becomes more tortuous and is
obstructed by islands and bars, the river being frequently divided
into half a dozen different channels.
Drift-piles are everywhere present. They occur at the heads of all Drift-piles,
the bars and islands, and, alternating from one bank to the other, form
in places an almost continuous line along the river. The drift-wood
is derived from the washing away of the forested flats bordering the
river, and the enormous amount carried down during high water each
year measures the destructive power of the stream. Rapid changes
in the course of the river are notable features in this reach, the main
channel of one season being often represented in the next by a scarcely
used slough.
Near Fort Grahame, the mountains on the west, approach close to Ascent of
the river and sections of limestone and gneiss are exposed.     An as- mo™taln at
cent of the range east of the fort was made on August 10th.    The
river is bordered on the east by a series of scarps and terraces rising
up  to   a height of 275 feet with a width   of   about   three   miles.
The main terrace has a height of 175 feet above the river and is
thickly  wooded  with  black pine.     Near the mountains  the  pine  is
replaced by white spruce.    The lower slopes of the mountain are well
forested up to a height of 2000 feet above the river, but above that
elevation the trees gradually thin out, and a thousand feet higher up
they cease altogether.    The elevation of the timber-line in this district Elevation of
is approximately 5200 feet above the sea.    From the point ascended, tmlDer-lme-
the valley of the Finlay could be followed southward to the mouth of
the Omenica and northward could be seen stretching out in a nearly
straight direction for over sixty miles, or as far as the eye could pierce
the haze.    In all this distance it preserves a nearly uniform width of
from  four to six  miles.    Looking up the valley, the most striking
object  in view  was  a  range of mountains about forty miles distant, 16   C FINLAY   AND   OMENICA   RIVERS.
which appeared in the evening light to be almost pure white. They
were afterwards examined and found to be composed of a much altered
compact limestone. Westward, range after range of nameless mountains, running nearly parallel to the valley of the Finlay, extended to
the horizon, while eastward the view was soon obstructed by the higher
peaks of the central ranges of the Rockies. Patches of snow cling
round the summits of most of the higher mountains, but no flowing
glaciers were seen. The heights of the principal peaks range from
7000 to 7500 feet above the sea.
Trails. The range bordering the valley on the west is broken through oppo
site Fort Grahame by a small stream flowing into the Finlay, up which
a trail leads which can be followed through the mountains to Bear
Lake, a distance of sixty or seventy miles. A second trail from Fort
Grahame is stated to run eastward to the Liard.
From Fort Grahame to the Ingenica, a distance of sixteen miles in a
straight line, and about twenty miles following the curves of the river,
the Finlay is characterized by the same features which prevail below.
It is divided into numerous channels by islands and bars, and holds a
nearly straight course along the centre of the great depression it occupies, never touching the mountains on either side and seldom even
cutting into the bordering terraces. The current is rapid, averaging
fully five miles an hour.
Ingenica The Ingenica is the first large stream which enters the Finlay from
the west above the Omenica. It is a clear, rapid river fifty to sixty
yards wide, and is reported to be navigable up to the forks, a distance
of about thirty miles, above which it is filled with rapids.
An Indian trail to Bear Lake runs along its bank. The Ingenica is
well worthy of being prospected, as it must cut through the same band
of green and dark schists from which the gold in the Omenica country
is derived. Fine gold was found in the wash at the mouth of the
Fourteen miles above the Ingenica, the Finlay is narrowed in by
a canon named Deserters' Cafion by Finlay. For part of the distance
the stream presents its usual characteristics, but five miles below the
canon the islands and bars disappear and it is confined to one channel
varying in width from to 200 to 250 yards. Above the Ingenica the
Finlay bends slightly to the west, and at the cafion it approaches the
base of the range bordering the valley on the east. On the west the
space between the river and the mountains is occupied by a plain five
to six miles in width wooded with poplar, spruce, and black pi' e. iicconneu-] FINLAY   RIVER. 17   C
Deserters' Cafion is situated about ninety miles above the mouth of Deserters'
the Finlay River, and is the first interruption to its navigation. This Canon,
canon is about half a mile long and in the narrowest places scarcely
exceeds a hundred feet in width. It is cut through hard conglomerate
and sandstone. The walls, except at the lower end, where there is a
steep conglomerate cliff, are not very high. The channel is crooked
and is interrupted by several bad riffles. Deserters' Cafion can be
run at certain stages of water but its navigation is dangerous. A
good portage-track half a mile in length has been cut out by the Indians along the we^t bank.
Above Deserters' Canon, the Finlay makes a couple of great bends
to the west, above which it receives the A-ki-e River from the east. At
the bends high cut-banks of boulder-clay, silts and gravel, are exposed.
The white limestone mountains seen from Fort Grahame are now
directly west. This range commences west of the Cafion and extends White moun-
north-westward. It evidently, from its condition, marks a line of dis- talns-
turbance and probably of faulting. The range immediately east of
the valley is still composed of gneiss and mica-schists, but farther
back, bare sharp crested mountains come into view, which are probably
built of limestone.
The Akie River has not been explored. It enters the Finlay in Akie River,
two branches, the larger of which is one hundred feet wide; its valley
is wide and cuts straight back into the mountains for a distance of
about twelve miles; it then bends to the north, but sends a branch
southward. The wash in the bed of the Akie is principally limestone
and does not contain gold. Above the mouth of the Akie, the Finlay
pursues a very tortuous course as far as Paul's Branch, a distance
measured in a straight line of about twenty-one miles, but following
the course of the river for thirty-five miles. In several points of this
reach, the river is bordered by high gravel and boulder-clay banks, in
some cases exceeding 250 feet in height. The valley maintains a
width of from five to six miles for part of the distance, but six miles
below Paul's Branch, a range rises up west of the river which narrows
it in to about three miles. The ranges bordering the valley on both
sides have a height in this latitude of about 3000 feet above the
Paul's Branch is a small stream about thirty feet in width.    Its Paul'sBrsmch.
valley is narrow and canon-like where it breaks through the gneissic
range that borders the Rockies on the west, but widens out when it
reaches the softer rocks behind.    No gold was found on Paul's Branch,
but good prospects were obtained from a couple of streams which enter
2 18 c
Great valley.
the Finlay from the west, a few miles lower down. The mountains
east of the bordering gneissic range of the Rockies are comparatively
low in this latitude, and are separated by wide wooded valleys often
holding lakes of considerable size. Their lower elevation is due to the
relatively softer and more easily eroded nature of the argillites and
calc-schists of which they are composed. Farther back, near the
centre of the range, the calc-schists are replaced by hard limestones,
and higher and bolder-looking mountains again prevail.
From Paul's Branch to the Qua-da-cha, or Whitewater, a distance
of eleven miles, the Finlay runs in a nearly straight direction, skirting
the base of the range bordering it on the east. The width of the
river here is about 250 yards, and its current has a rate of about four
miles and a half an hour.
The Quadacha, or Whitewater, as it is appropriately termed on
most of the maps, is' the largest stream which enters the Finlay from
the east, and is usually referred to as "The Fork," although its volume
is scarcely one-sixth that of the main river. It is a deep rapid stream
about one hundred feet wide. Its water is filled and whitened with
fine sediment, evidently derived from glaciers, and presents a strong
contrast in this respect to the clear blue water of the main stream.
The two streams flow side by side for several miles before commingling. The Quadacha follows the western side of the same valley
which the Finlay has occupied for so long, for several miles, and then
turns eastward into the Rockies. It is reported by the Indians to
fork soon after entering the mountains, one branch coming from a
large lake, while the other heads in a glacier near the centre of the
range. At the Quadacha, the Finlay bends to the west, and three miles
further on receives the Tochieca, a stream about seventy-five feet
wide. Soon after, still turning westward, it leaves the great valley
which it has hitherto occupied. The valley extends northward with
undiminished size, although it now holds only an insignificant tributary of the Finlay.
The great Inter-montane valley referred to above, and of which
mention is so frequently made in this report, forms one of the most
important topographical features of British Columbia. It crosses the
international boundary about longitude 115° 10' W. and runs in a
direction N. 33° W. along the western base of the Rocky Mountains,
separating the latter from the Selkirks and other ranges on the west,
for a distance of over 800 miles. It is entirely independent of the
oresent drainage systems of the country, as it is occupied successively,
beginning at the boundary, by a number of rivers belonging to distinct ^ICCONNELl.
systems, among which are the Kootanie, the Columbia, Canoe River,
the Fraser, Bad River, the Parsnip, the Finlay and the Tochieca. The
link between Bad River and the Fraser has not yet been surveyed,
and its extension, if any, beyond the Tochieca is still unknown. Its
width varies from two to fifteen miles, and it is everywhere inclosed,
except for some distance along the west bank of the Parsnip, by
mountain ranges varying in height from 3000 to 6000 feet or more
above the valley.
The width of the valley does not depend on the size of the stream
which occupies it at any particular place. It is fully as wide along width of
the smaller streams and at the watersheds which separate the different vaUsy-
streams, as along great rivers like the Columbia and the Finlay. The
average height of the bottom of the valley above the sea is about
2300 feet, and the variation in height is about 1000 feet. The heights
of the watersheds in. the valley are approximately as follows : Koo- Height abcwe
tanie-Columbia, 2740 feet ; Columbia-Fraser, 2900 feet; Peace-Liard, the sea-
3100 feet. The increase in height of the watersheds "toward the
north, does not hold good in regard to the depressions. The Columbia
leaves the valley at a height of 2050 feet, the Fraser at a height of
2100 feet (?), and the Peace at a height of 2020. The two former
streams break through the ranges bounding the valley on the west,
while the latter cuts through its eastern walls. None of the streams
occupying the great valley, the salient features of which have just been
described, are doing much rock-cutting at the present time. Secondary
valleys are being sunk in most places through the old floor, but the
cutting is usually through glacial deposits. The principal exception
to this is in the case of the Columbia, which has done considerable
rock excavation in the reach extending from above Donald down to
the Big Bend, the point at which it leaves the valley. It now flows,
for part of the distance, in a rock-walled narrow channel eroded
through the floor of the old depression. In no place is any widening
of the old valley going on.
The age of the valley has not been worked out, but it is evident
that it long antedates the inception of the present drainage system of Age of valley
the country, and may have been in existence before the elevation of
the Rocky Mountains proper. Rocks of Tertiary age (probably Miocene) are supposed by Dr. Dawson to underlie part of the southern
portion of the valley, while sandstones and conglomerates of Laramie
age are found in places along both the Parsnip and Finlay. Glacial
■deposits are present throughout its whole extent.*
*See on this great valley, sketch of Phys. Geol. and Geol. of Canada, Sehvyn and
Dawson, 1884, p. 34.   Annual Report, Geol. Surv. Can., vol. I, (N.S.), p. 28 B.
The Finlay River, as already stated, turns to the west above its junction with the Tochieca and breaks a gap about a mile wide through
the range bounding the valley on that side.    The part of the  range
Prairie Moun- adjoining the river on the north, is called Prairie Mountain by the
Indians, on account of the bare slope it presents on the southern exposure. An ascent of Prairie Mountain was made. It is a steep-
sided flat-topped elevation about 2400 feet high. The aspen and
spruce forest which covers the narrow plain at its base extends up its
lower slopes for a few hundred feet, above which the trees become
more scattered and inclose large grassy areas. The summit of the
mountain is covered with low shrubs, varied at intervals with clumps
of stunted spruce (Picea alba), balsam (Abies subalpina) and black
pine. Farther to the north the ridge increases in elevation and is
surmounted by bare rocky peaks.
View from From the point ascended, a view of the great valley which holds the
tajn    ! Finlay and the Tochieca was obtainable for fifty miles or more in each
direction. Northward, as far as visible, it maintains a straight wide
course, and is characterized by the same features which prevail below.
The range bordering it on the east is regular and well defined, and has
an elevation of about 2500 feet above the level of the valley. This is
succeeded by somewhat lower round-topped ranges, behind which is a
series of massive looking limestone mountains forming the summit of
the range. The latter support the large glacier from which the Quadacha issues. Westward, mountains appeared everywhere, apparently
increasing in elevation towards the west, and culminating at a distance
of forty or fifty miles in a range, the higher peaks of which approach
6000 feet in height. A number of small glaciers appear dotted along
this range at the bases of the higher peaks. No plains were visible in
any direction.
The Finlay River, after passing Prairie Mountain, bends again to the
north-west, and runs for some miles nearly parallel to the continuation
Rapids. of  the great  valley  occupied  by  it  below.     The  current gradually
increases and twelve miles above the mouth of the Tochieca its navigation, except at very low water, is practically stopped by a long
cafion. We ascended the canon for two miles, and then as an examination showed that the river for many miles ahead was simply a
succession of canons, riffles and rapids, it was decided to cache the
canoes and continue the exploration on foot.
Long Canon. The Long Cafion has a length of about five miles. The river in this
distance is frequently narrowed in to less than a hundred feet in width,
the constriction often resulting in the production of wild rapids. The
walls are irregular and are built partly of Tertiary conglomerates, and •tcoNNELL. ] FINLAY'   RIVER. 21   C
partly of Palaeozoic calc-schists and limestones, arranged in steep and
often vertical cliffs from fifty to one hundred feet in height, and capped
above by steeply sloping scarped glacial beds. The total depth of the
gorge at the upper end exceeds 600 feet. Above the Long Canon, the
Finlay for five miles is a swift shallow stream about 150 yards wide.
It is then interrupted by a second but shorter canon, through which
its waters pour in an exceedingly turbulent manner. The river for
some miles above the s- cond canon was not examined.
Leaving the river at the lower end of the Long Cafion, we climbed Leave the
out of the valley, here about 300 feet deep, and skirted for some miles rlver-
the base of the range bounding the valley on the west; then, turning
more to the north, we descended into the valley of a small stream,
which falls into the Finlay below the second cafion. This stream
occupies the eastern slope of a wide valley which runs directly westward and meets the Finlay again beyond the great semicircular bend
which the latter describes above the second canon. The space between
this valley and the Finlay is occupied by a long mountain, about 3000
feet high above the valle}7, which was named Mt. Finlay.
Travelling up the valley proved to be very difficult owing to fallen Difficult
timber, and we were obliged, for most of the way, to follow the bed of
the stream, crossing and recrossing it continually. Nine miles from
our cache, the stream that we were following turned south into the
mountains. Here we, left it, and, continuing westward, shortly afterwards reached a couple of narrow lakes, the first about two miles and
the second about one mile in length. No water was flowing from
these lakes, but in seasons of flood they evidently drain eastward, as
the valley ascends beyond them.
Half a mile from  the  second lake we reached the summit of  the Reach the
pass, and three miles further on came again to the Finlay, here flowing    mla5'-
in a north-easterly direction.    The river at this point is about 150
yards wide and is swift and shallow.    We followed up the right (east)
bank, and two miles further on reached the junction of the Finlay and
Thudaca, a rapid mountain stream heading in the Peak Range.    Above
the Thudaca the Finlay has a rapid flow, and is interrupted by several
small falls and rapids for a distance of six miles.    Above this reach,
what appears to be an old lake basin begins, the rocky banks and bed
which characterize it below, suddenly disappear, and are replaced by
clay, silt and gravel.    The current diminishes to about a mile and a Diminution
half an hour, and the stream expands to twice its usual size.    The flatln current-
bordering the river is intersected by sloughs, and holds a couple of
small sheets of water, known to the Indians as the Fishing Lakes. 22   C PINLAY   AND   OMENICA   RIVERS.
The valley here has a width of about a mile and a half, and is
bordered by mountains, 4000 to 5000 feet above the river, belonging-
Glaciers, to the Peak Range. Numerous small isolated glaciers, descending to
a height of about 2500 feet above the river, occur in the depressions
between the summits, but no extended ice-field was noticed. The expanded lake-like portion of the Finlay has a length of about eighteen
miles. Near its head, the river divides into several branches, none
of which were explored by us. The western branch (called Thucatade
by Finlay) was ascended by Mr. Finlay, and is stated by him, in the
journal referred to before, to be thirty-five miles in length and to head
in a narrow lake, sixteen to twenty miles long, called Lake Thutade
by the Indians.
Geological Observations.
Rock exposures.
Rocks at
Black Canon.
Omenica  River  Section.
Rock exposures on the Omenica commence at the Black Cafion, five
miles above its mouth. Below the Black Canon the valley is cut
through the glacial and alluvial deposits which floor the narrow plain
bordering the Finlay. A good section of the latter, consisting here of
clays, sands and gravels, was observed about a mile above the mouth of
the river. A landslip of considerable magnitude occurred at this
point not long ago, by v/hich material from the north bank of the
valley was carried right across the main channel of the river and
deposited on the further side. No permanent change in the course of
the stream was effected by this slide, as the blocked channel was
quickly cleared by the rapid river.
At the Black Canon, the valley for half a mile is bordered by sharp
rocky walls consisting of medium-grained muscovite gneisses, micaceous
and chloritic schists, and quartzites. At the upper end of the canon
the gneisses and schists are overlaid by a bed of hard grayish limestone,
filled with mica, quartz, and other impurities. The general strike of
the rocks at the cafion is S. 58° E. and the dip is south-westerly at an
angle of 28°. The gneiss and mica-schists of the Black Canon
represent the oldest rock series found in the Omenica district and are
undoubtedly of Archaean age. They run in a north-westerly direction
parallel to the course of the Finlay for many miles. Their extension
southward has not been worked out.
The Archtean gneisses and schists of the Black Cauon, are succeeded
in the valley of the Omenica by a series of shales, sandstones and
conglomerates of Laramie age.    These rocks occur in several places in wcconnell. ] OMENICA RIVER SECTION. 23   C
the Omenica and Finlay River districts, but so far as observed are
everywhere confined to the valleys. They usually strike parallel, or
nearly so, to the general direction of the valleys in which they lie, and
conform approximately in dip to the older rocks on which they rest.
Above the Black Canon the strike is S. 28° E. and the dip is southwesterly at an angle of 30°.
The materia's of these conglomerates and associated beds have been
derived from the Archaean gneisses and schists and the Palaeozoic
schists and- limestones which floor the surrounding country. The
conglomerate consists of pebbles of quartz, felsite, chert, schist and
limestone, imbedded in a soft sand or clay matrix, occasionally hardened by a feruginous cement. The shales are usually dark in colour,
are coarsely laminated and often pass by the gradual addition of
arenaceous material into a shaly sandstone. Mica enters largely into
the composition of the rocks of this series, and in some instances beds
a foot or more in thickness were observed, which consisted almost
entirely of this material.
Fossil leaves and other vegetable remains are abundant in some of Fossils.
the shales and shaly sandstones, but are usually in a somewhat fragmentary condition. Among the specimens brought back, Sir J. Wm.
Dawson has recognized fragments of the stem of an Arundo, Sequoia
Langsdorffii and S. Gouttsia;, a Populus like P. Arctica, a Platanus, a
Quercus, a Viburnum, probably V. asper, Newberry, and a carpolite
resembling Leguminosiles arachnoides, Lesquereux. The only animal
fossils found were a couple of Ostracods which have not yet been
specifically determined.
The Tertiary beds are exposed  above the cafion in a nearly continuous  section   for about a mile, and at intervals for several miles
farther.    Two miles and a half below the  mouth of the Tchutetzeca a
ledge of limestone projects out from the left bank, and is also exposed
on an island in the centre of the stream.     The limestone here is very Limestone ex-
hard, an '. evidences its proximity to a line of strong disturbance in its Posures-
whitened  and  cracked  appearance, and in the schistose  condition of
some associated shaly beds.    A mile further up. an exposure of hardened shales, holding some beds of impure limestone, was noticed in the
right bank, which probably belongs to the Laramie series.    At the
bend of the Omenica above the mouth of the Tchutetzeca, grayish-
limestones are exposed in several places, and  they also occur in the
mountains  north  of the river.    No fossils were   found in these lime Age of limestones, and their age is therefore uncertain, but they probably belong s one' 24 c
Bow River
Castle Mountain limestones.
Order of succession.
to the  Castle  Mountain group, a  series which includes beds: ranging:
from the Middle Cambrian to the Cambro-Silurian.*
Above the limestone outcrops just referred to, exposures aue wanting for a distance of over two miles and then hard garnetiferous gneiss;
appears in the banks of the valley. The Bow River series: of conglomerates, quartzites and argillites which usually separates the Castle-
Mountain limestone from the Archaean was not observed and! may be
cut off by a fault.   '
Archaean rocks commence about a mile and a half below the mouth
■of the Oslinca and are exposed along the river for a distance of twelve
miles. The principal variety consists of a medium grained biotite-
gneiss. Muscovite- and hornblende-gneisses are also present, but are
less abundant. A felspathic augen-gneiss occurs in one section and
garnetiferous gneisses were observed at several horizons. Lustrous
mica-schists and soft hydro-mica schists alternate with the gneisses in
bands and beds, and constitute a considerable proportion of the formation. The Archaean outcrop crossed by the Omenica has the form
of a great anticline, with its eastern limb dipping in a north-easterly
direction at angles ranging from 30° to 70° and the western limb
dipping in a south-westerly direction at correspondingly steep angles.
The strike is S. 48° E.
The Archaean gneisses and schists are overlain by the Bow River
series consisting here, as elsewhere, of grayish conglomerates and
quartzites, and hard dark slates. The conglomerates are rather finegrained, the pebbles seldom exceeding a third of an inch in diameter,
and are crushed and altered in places into a schistose condition. The
pebbles consist principally of quartz and felspar. The Bow River
rocks are exposed along the river for two miles. They are succeeded
and overlain in turn by grayish unfossiliferous limestone similar in
ps to
character to that exposed below the mouth of the Tchutetzeca,
like it, probably belonging to the Castle Mountain group. It di_
the south-west at angles ranging from 40° to 50°.
The three series of rocks briefly described above, viz., the Archaean
gneisses and schists (Shuswap series), the Bow River conglomerates,
quartzites and slates, and the Castle Mountain limestones, occur in a
similar succession to that on the Omenica, so far as observed, all along
the Rocky Mountain range. In the section previously examined on
the Bow River the lower beds do not come to the surface, and in other
places the relationship is obscured by faults and overturns, but when-
*For a definition of this and the Bow River series, see Annual Report, Geol. Surv.
Can., vol. II. (N.S.), pp. 240, 29n. iuconneu j OMENICA RIVER SECTION. ZO   C
ever the section is normal and complete the above described order
The Bow River conglomerates have a thickness on the Omenica of
from 4000 to 5000 feet. The thickness of the Castle Mountain limestone was not ascertained.
The limestones are succeeded by a series of rocks which are entirely
different in character from those just described and are mainly of volcanic origin. At the bend of the river below Germansen Landing, Green vol-
three rounded hills, each about a thousand feet high, occur, which are
built principally of a green diabasic rock described by Mr. Ferrier as
a compact diabase tuff. This rock is massive in character along its
eastern border, but proceeding westward, lines of stratification are
'gradually developed, and in a short distance it passes into a well-foliated green schist, interbedded in places with darker schists, apparently argillaceous in character. The lithological succession at this
point, indicates a gradual passage from massive volcanic rocks through
-an imperfectly bedded pyroclastic variety to well foliated schists probably derived from volcanic ash.
At Germansen Landing, green schists, striking S. 48° E., and dipp- Rocks on Ger-
ing at high1 angles, are exposed. In proceeding up Germansen Creek
:the rocks, while apparently all belonging to the same series, display
great variety. The predominant type for some miles is a green ash
rock pressed and altered into a schist. Interbedded with it are layers
of grauwacke, felsite, and hallaflinta, and bands of dolomite, serpentine, and magnesite. At one point below Clinton's an exposure of
serpentine, sprinkled with decomposed crystals of felspar, was observed.
Near Clinton's, on Germansen Creek, the green schists are replaced
largely by dark evenly bedded argillites. On the trail between Germansen Creek and Manson Creek, both green schists and dark argillites are largely developed. The latter are often speckled with yellow
spots, due to decomposed pyrite crystals. The strike of the schists and
argillites has an average direction of S. 55° E. The dips are variable,
but are usually steep.
Granite is reported to occur on Manson Creek, a mile above the Granite,
town of Manson.    Its presence in the neighbourhood is evidenced by
the number of granite boulders of all sizes, which are scattered everywhere over the face of the country.
Between Germansen Landing and New Hogem, the rocks exposed
along the Omenica consist of green and dark schists similar to those
outcropping on Germansen Creek, alternating with indistinctly foliated
diabase-tuffs.    The latter in some places are destitute pf stratification 26 c
and are not distinguishable in the field from the massive diabases.
They vary greatly in texture, passing gradually from a compact crypto-
erystalline condition to a rock of medium grain.
Granite. At New  Hogem  the schists and  diabase tuffs are  replaced by a
dark-coloured medium-grained granite, usually of a hornblendic type.
An agglomeratic-looking rock, made up of granite and diabase debris,
probably a junction material, was found in the wash of a small stream
which enters the Omenica immediately below New Hogem.
Granite outcrops along the Omenica from New to Old Hogem, a
distance of about eight miles, and extends north and south of the
river in a direction parallel, or nearly so, to the prevalent strike of the
neighbouring schistose rocks. The southern limit of the area was not
ascertained, and it is possible that it may be continuous with the
granite outcrops on Manson Creek.
From New Hogem the trail to Tacla Lake via Vital and Tom's
Creek was followed. An occurrence of granite half a mile south of
the river marks the western boundary of the granite area, as a short
distance away, greenish schists and dark gray argillites similar to those
Green schists, on Germansen Creek crop out in the valley of Silver Creek. Outcrops
of the same argillites and schists occur in numerous exposures along
the route traversed until within a few miles of Tacla Lake. They are
instratified in places with grauwacke and beds of felsite. Hallaflinta
and amphibolite are also not infrequent. The beds dip at high angles,
usually towards the south-west, and are occasionally vertical. Seven
miles from Tacla Lake, the argillites and associated rocks are replaced
by conglomerates, sandstones and shales of a somewhat similar char-
acter'to those on the Omenica above the Black Canon. Conglomerates
were also found on the shores of Tacla Lake, and they probably form
the basement of the wide valley in which the lake is situated.
The Tacla valley conglomerates are more indurated than those on
the Omenica and have been subjected to greater disturbances, the
tilting of the beds often amounting to 70° and over. The age of the
conglomerates is doubtful, as no fossils were obtained from them, but
they probably belong to the Cretaceous.
Finlay River Section.
Finlay River
The Finlay section is much inferior to that afforded by the Omenica,
as the direction of the river for long distances is parallel or nearly so
to the strike of the rocks. No exposures occur along the lower part
of the river.    From its mouth up to the Omenica, the Finlay winds nceoNNELL. ] FINLAY RIVER SECTION. 27   C
through a low alluvial plain without touching the bordering highlands
or mountains. Above the mouth of the Omenica the banks increase
in height, and where cut into by the stream, show glacial sands, gravels
and clays, holding numerous scratched and polished boulders.
A mile and a half below Fort Grahame, an exposure of hard grayish
contorted limestone appears on the west bank of the river, underlying
mica-schists and gneisses. The limestone strikes N. 40° W., and dips
to the west at an angle of 70° or over.
An examination was made of the mountains bordering the valley in Terraces,
the vicinity of Fort Grahame. The valley here has a width of about
five miles and is terraced on both sides of the river. The main terrace has a height above the stream of 175 feet. The other terraces,
although plainly visible from a distance, could not be distinguished
during the ascent. Water-worn pebbles were found up to a height of
over 2000 feet above the river.
The rocks observed consisted of lustrous mica-schists, mica-gneisses, Rooks in
and  hornblende-schists,   bedded   diorites,   quartzites,   and   occasional nf0™ (£?afaS
bands of whitish crystalline limestone, all belonging to the Shuswap hame,
At the base of the 'mountains the rocks dip to the south-west, at a
high angle, but further up the dip diminishes and at the summit the
beds are nearly horizontal. The strike is approximately N. 40 W., or
parallel to the direction of the valley.
The mountain west of the valley was ascended by Mr. Russel and
are reported by him to consist of mica-schists, gneisses and limestones,
similar to those east of the valley, dipping at high angles.
No glacial striae or grooves were noticed on either slope, but the Absence of
rocks in places appeared to have been smoothed and rounded by ice Slaclal striae
moving in a south-easterly direction. From Fort Grahame to the
mouth of the Ingenica, a distance of about twenty miles, no exposures
were noticed along the valley. The bordering mountain ranges, judging by the material brought down by numerous tributary streams, are
built mainly of gneiss and mica-schists. The latter outcrops in a
couple of places a short distance above the mouth of the Ingenic t.
Six miles above the mouth of the Ingenica, plant-bearing conglomerates and sandstones of Laramie age appear in the valley. These
beds are similar in character to those in the Omenica, previously described. They appear to be confined entirely to the great valleys of the
district and to be absent from the highlands, and if ever deposited on
the latter have been entirely  swept away.    They  rest partly on an '28
White limestone mountains.
Laramie conglomerates.
Archaean, and partly on a Palaeozoic  floor, and have participated to
some extent in the later folding which has affected the region.
The pebbles of the conglomerates seldom exceed half an inch in
diameter and consist of rounded and sub-angular fragments derived
from the disintegration of the schists, siates and quartzites of the
neighbourhood. Below Deserters' Cafion, a ridge of hard conglomerate and sandstone, through which the stream has cut a narrow gorge,
crosses the valley. At the lower end of the cafion the walls are vertical
in places, but farther up, the banks have weathered into a steep slope.
Deserters' Cafion has the appearance of a recent channel, and probably owes its origin to an alteration in the course of the stream during
the glacial period, as the easily eroded material of which its banks are
formed could not have withstood the assaults of a large swift stream
heavily charged with sediment, such as the Finlay, for any lengthened
The Tertiary conglomerates and associated rocks are replaced, a short
distance east of the Deserters' Cafion, by the gneisses and mica-schists
of the Shuswap series, but extend in a westerly direction for four or
five miles, or as far as the base of the mountain range bounding the
valley in this direction.
Above Deserters' Cafion, the valley is bordered on the west by a conspicuous range of white mountains from 2000 to 3000 feet in height. '
On closer examination these proved to be composed of a fine-grained,
whitish, compact limest/ne. This rock weathers in places to a light
yellow or rusty colour, and occasionally is very siliceous. No fossils
were found in it, but from its position relatively to the Shuswap
series it was referred to the Cambrian. The limestone is very much
disturbed and probably lies along a line of faulting running with the
The schists and gneisses of the Shuswap series form the bordering
mountain ranges on both sides of the Finlay below the mouth of the
Ingenica, but above that point, while still continuing on the east, they
recede toward the west, and are replaced by the limestones referred to
From Deserters' Cafion to Paul's Branch, a distance of thirty miles
in a straight line, the Finlay winds through the centre of its valley
without touching the bordering mountain ranges. The valley in this
stretch is floored throughout with Laramie conglomerates, sandstones
and shales, exposures of which occur at intervals all along. These
rocks here are usually little indurated and occasionally hold small
lignite seams.    Fossil plants occur in many of the beds. MCCONNEU.J FINLAY RIVER SECTION. 29  C
Ten miles below Paul's  Branch, banks of glacial deposits 225 feet Glacial der.
high occur at the bends of the stream.    The banks are sloping below, posl 8-
but are capped with steep bluffs above consisting mostly of coarsely
stratified gravels interbedded  with bands of hard boulder-clay filled
with  scratched  boulders.     The   boulder-clay  bands often pass into
gravels when traced along their outcrop.
At Paul's Branch, the river approaches the mountains on the east, Paul'sBranch.
and an opportunity was afforded for a short trip inland. Paul's
Branch enters the Finlay through a deep narrow canon, cut through
the hard rocks of the outer range. Farther back, its valley becomes
enlarged, and the stream soon splits up into several tributaries which
wind through the wide marsh-filled valleys separating the hills and
ridges of the district.
The eastern range here, as elsewhere along the valley, consists of
the limestones, gneisses and schists of the Shuswap series. A band of
hard compact limestone outcrops at the water's edge, while further
back, bands of mica-gneisses, lustrous mica-schists, hornblende-schists,
and occasionally quartzose-schists, alternate across the range. These
rocks all dip to the south-west at angles from 50° to 60°, and strike
N. 73° W.
The Shuswao series has  a width  at Paul's Branch  of  two miles. Width of band
A ... . of Shuswap
It is succeeded towards the  east  by  argillites  calc-schists  and lime- rocks.
stones of Cambrian age, dipping in a south-west direction under the
older rocks.    The contact between the two formations is apparently a
faulted   one,   the  Shuswap  series  being thrust  eastward  over   the
younger formation.
The ridges foi ming the central  part of the Rocky Mountain  range Rocks in cen-
were not examined closely, but, judging from their appearance and
from the wash of the  streams flowing from them, they are evidently
composed of massive limestones, similar to those found in a corresponding position in other parts of the range.
From Paul's Branch to the Quadacha, a distance of ten miles, the
Finlay follows the eastern bank of the valley, and occasional exposures
of the schists of the Shuswap series occur. A short distance below
the mouth of the Quadacha, Laramie conglomerates outcrop on the left
At the Quadacha, the Finlay bends to the west and soon after leaves
the great valley which it has occupied from its mouth to this point.
The valley continues northward, and is occupied, after the Finlay
abandons it, by the Tochieca a tributary. 30 c
Cambrian conglomerates.
In crossing the valley Laramie rocks were seen in a couple of places,
but below the mouth of the Tochieca these are replaced by green
schists, probably sheared and altered volcanic rocks similar to those
overlying the limestones in the Omenica district. These schists have
the usual strike, but the dip is to the north-east at an angle of 40°.
The green schists have a width of five miles. They form the first ridge
through which the Finlay breaks after it leaves its old valley. Prairie
Mountain, the part of the ridge abutting on the Finlay from the north,
was examined, and found to consist of green schists, often strongly
chloritic, holding numerous stringers of quartz alternating with bands
of yellowish weathering dolomites. Three bands of the latter were
observed and four of the former. The strike of these beds is N. 30° E.
and the dip is to the north-west.
Glacial striation or grooving were carefully looked for in ascending
Prairie Mountain, but no trace of either was found.
After cutting through Prairie Mountain range, the Finlay enters and
follows for some distance a second longitudinal valley running parallel
to the first. Laramie sandstone and conglomerates occur in this
valley and probably extend southwards along it to its junction with
the main valley, a few miles below Pauls Branch. The conglomerate
in this valley consists in places largely of sub-angular limestone pebbles, often several inches in diameter, and is occasionally coloured red
by iron.
At the second valley, the green schists are replaced towards the
west by limestones, alternating with dark, glossy calc-schists, sericite-
schists and argillites, evidently a continuation of the same band which
forms the mountains bordering the Finlay valley on the west at the
Deserters' Canon, and for some distance above.
The band of limestones and associated rocks has a width of five
miles. The thickness was not ascertained, as the dips are very irregular, the beds being overturned in many places. At the western edge
of the band the prevalent dip is to the north-west.
The limestones are underlain by fine-grained conglomerates, interbedded with some quartzites and schists. The conglomerate is of
Cambrian age, and like similar occurrences elsewhere, consists mostly
of quartz and felspar pebbles inclosed in a hard siliceous matrix. It
strikes in a north-west direction and dips to the north-east. The conglomerates are succeeded, in descending order, by mica-schists, mica-
gneisses, hornblende-schists, etc., of the Shuswap series. The latter
are exposed along the Finlay River from the mouth of the Thudaca
River, westward to the expanded portion of the river at the Fishing ucconneu ] SECTION IN PEACE RIVER PASS. 31   C
Lakes. Above this point the river enters an old alluvium-filled basin,
and exposures cease. East of the valley, which here runs almost
directly north-and-soutb, the mountains are built of the schists of the
Shuswap series, while west of the valley an area of eruptive rocks
occurs. The latter consist of diorites around the periphery, but soon
pass to the west into biotite- and hornblende-granites. The dip of the
schists is to the north-east, or away from the eruptive area.
The rock section exposed along the Finlay, after the latter leaves Finlay seethe valley bounding the Rocky Mountains on the west, consists of the "'
western half of a great anticline, which includes the schists of the
Shuswap series (Archaean), conglomerates and limestones of Cambrian
age (Bow River and Castle Mountain groups), and an upper schistose
series consisting of altered volcanic rocks, the age of which was not
The dip of these rocks is usually to the north-east, but in places,
and more especially in the limestone series, overturns have been produced by pressure from the west, and the dip is reversed.
The eastern limb of the anticline has entirely disappeared, a result Faulted anti-
probably affected by faulting along the line of the Finlay Valley.
The junction between the volcanic schists at the summit of the Pakeo-
zoic section, and the Shuswap series east of the Finlay Valley, over
which they are apparently faulted, is concealed by the Laramie conglomerates.
Section in Peace River Pass.*
A short trip was made through the  Peace River Pass of the Rocky Peace River
Mountains, for the purpose of obtaining a general view of the structure      s sectlon-
of the range in this latitude.    The time occupied, one day in descending, and two days in ascending the river, was too limited for anything
but a hurried reconnaissance.
Peace River breaks through the Rocky Mountains, here about Character of
eighteen miles wide, in a direction a few degrees south of east. In its
passage of the range it has a width of from three to five hundred yards.
Its course, with the exception of two small rapids, one before entering
and the other after leaving the range, is uninterrupted. The current
seldom exceeds five miles an hour and for most of the distance is much
less. The valley averages about a mile in width, and the bordering
mountains range in height from 2000 to 4500 feet above the river, or
4000 to 6500 feet above sea-level.
* See also Report of Progress, Geol. Surv., Can., 1875-76, pp. 41, SO. 32 c
of limestone.
Predominance The rocks exposed along the pass consist principally of grayish
Palaeozoic limestones striking in a north-westerly direction, and dipping
persistently to the south-west. Repetitions of parts of the limestone
series, caused by overthrust faults, occur at several points. No infolds
of Cretaceous or Laramie strata, such as occur in Alberta, exist, and to
this fact is due the greater irregularity of the subordinate ranges.
Immediately east of the main range, exposures of yellowish-weathering calcareous sandstone, probably of Cretaceous age, occur in the banks
of the river. These are replaced, going westward, by grayish limestones
dipping steeply to the west. The junction between the limestone and
sandstone is concealeei in the valley, but there is little doubt, from the
relative position of the two formations, that the contact is a faulted one
and that the Palaeozoic limestones of the mountains, here as elsewhere
along the eastern boundary of the range, are thrust up over the Meso-
zoic rocks of the foot-hills.
Triassic beds.
The limestones are fossiliferous, the fauna, so far as ascertained, being
similar to the Banff or Devono-Carboniferous division of the jBow
River section.
West of the fault, the limestones stand at a steep angle, the beds
being fairly regular, but further west they become greatly confused
and show evidence of much disturbance. In the second range, the
limestones are overlain by a band of dark Monotis-henriag calcareous
shales and impure limestones of Triassic age. West of the Triassic
band, a second fault brings the Banff limestones again to the surface,
and the same limestones, probably repeated by faults, occur in the next
two ranges. In the first of these, the Banff limestones and overlying
Triassic beds have a regular westerly dip, but in the second, a line of
strong disturbance is reached, and the strata as seen on the mountain
sides are crushed into numerous subordinate folds.
A fault of considerable magnitude crosses the valley west of the two-
ridges referred to above, and brings up limestones which were referred
to the Castle Mountain group. West of this fault, the dips north of the
river for some distance were too confused to follow, but south of the
river, the beds, with the exception of one double fold, dip regularly
westward until near Mount Selwyn. The limestones in this part of
the range are mostly unfossiliferous and of the Castle Mountain type,
but higher beds holding Halysites were found in one place.
Mount Selwyn shows a sharp anticline on its eastern slope. The
centre of the mountain is formed of almost vertical limestone beds, but
going westward these are soon replaced by the quartzites, schists and
crushed conglomerates of the Bow River series.    The latter are forced BCOONNEU.] GEOLOGICAL  SUMMARY. 33   C
up over the limestones by a well-defined overthrust fault, running in
a north-westerly direction.
Mount Selwyn is flanked  on the west by a small range composed Structure of
partly of the rocks of the Bow River series and partly of jthe schists    *'   e wyn'
of the still older Shuswap series, all dipping to the south-west.    The
latter overlie the former, but the cause of their superior position was
not ascertained.
The  Peace  River  section  through   the   Rocky   Mountains,  thus Comparison
resembles  the Bow River  section  through  the same range, in the R^^ection.
predominance of limestones and in the persistent westerly dips duetto
repetition of the beds by overthrust faulting, but differs from it in
its absence of beds newer than the Triassic, and in the gradually
increasing age of the rocks from east to west.
Geological Summary.
Archcean (Shuswap Series).
The oldest rocks in the district consist of a series of well foliated Shuswap
mica-gneisses, probably derived to a large extent from sheared erup-
tives, lustrous mica-schists, horneblende- and actinolite-schists, quartz-
ose schists and crystalline limestones, filled with mica, hornblende and
other secondary minerals. The rocks of this series are usually evenly
bedded and conform in dip with the overlying formations.
Rocks of the Shuswap series are found on both sides of the Finlay Distribution,
from its mouth up to its junction with the Ingenica. North of this
point, the formation divides around a bay filled with newer rocks.
The eastern limb follows the eastern slope of the Finlay Valley northwestward to the Quadacha and for some distance beyond. It has a
width at Paul's Branch, where it forms the most westerly range of
the Rocky Mountains, of four miles. This width decreases towards
the north and increases to the south.
The western limb bends' away from the Finlay above the Ingenica,
but crosses it again at the great bend which the Finlay describes after
leaving the Rocky Mountains, and continues on to the north. The
width of this band was not ascertained, as its western boundary was
not reached.
A second area of Shuswap rocks, separated from the first by a band
of limestones, occurs on the Omenica River above the Oslinca. The
gneisses in this occurrence are coarser in grain than is usually the case,
and in places have a granitic appearance. The band has a width of
ten miles.
3 34 c
finlay and omenica rivers.
Lower Palceozoi
Clastic rocks
Castle Moun
tain group.
The Shuswap series is overlain on the Omenica by a band of slates,
quartzites and conglomerates similar in lithological character and in
geological position to the Bow River series of the Bow River section;
and like it, probably referable to the Lower and Middle Cambrian.
The conglomerates have an arkose appearance, and consist principally
of small rounded quartz and felspar pebbles interbedded in a hard
siliceous matrix. Fragments of schist and slate are also occasionally
included. A purplish coloration of many of the quartz grains characterizes the conglomerates of this formation wherever found, from Bow
River north to the Finlay. The conglomerates and associated rocks
on the Omenica have a thickness of about 4000 feet.
A band of conglomerates and schists, referable to the Bow River
series, also occur on the Finlay below the mouth of the Thudaca,
These rocks overlie the Shuswap series and are similar in most
respects to the Omenica occurrence. The conglomerates are greatly
crushed in places, and often assume a schistose appearance from the
development of secondary mica parallel to the cleavage planes.
A third band, similar in character to the others, forms part of the
western slope of Mount Selwyn.
The conglomeratic bands are everywhere overlain by a great limestone formation, corresponding to the Castle Mountain group of the
Bow River section, and like it, probably ranging in age from Middle
Cambrian up to Cambro-Silurian. The limestones are grayish in
colour, except where whitened along lines of disturbance, and are
usually evenly bedded, but in places, especially when impure, pass into
a calc-schist.    No fossils were obtained from them.
Limestones of this group are found all along the western portion of
the Peace River section through the Rocky Mountains east of Mount
Selwyn, and extend northward along the range as far as examined.
West of the Rocky Mountains they occur in bands of from four to
eight miles in width, running in a north-westerly direction. One of
these bands crosses the Finlay at its bend and extends south to the
Ingenica where it is cut off, and two others cross the Omenica above
the Tchutetzeca.
The limestone rests normally on the Bow River conglomerates, but
in many places in the district the latter are absent, either from non-
deposition or in consequence of faulting, and the limestone comes in
direct contact with the Shuswap rocks. ucconneu. J GEOLOGICAL   SUMMARY. 35   C
Upper Palaeozoic.
Grayish well-bedded limestones, holding corals, brachiopods and other Banff lime-
fossils characteristic of the Banff or Devono-Carboniferous division of stones-
the Bow  River  section, occur in the eastern ranges of the Rocky
Mountains, while near the centre of the range,  lower beds probably
Silurian in age, holding Halysitis catenulatus, were found in one place.
The volcanic schists and associated rocks exposed along the Volcanic
Omenica from below Germansen Landing to near Tacla Lake, are s°hists-
probably upper Palaeozoic, but no definite evidence of age was obtained,
beyond the fact that they overlie the limestones referred to the Castle
Mountain group and underlie the probably Cretaceous conglomerates
of Tacla Lake. The band of green schists which crosses the Finlay
above the mouth of the Quadacha occupies a similar position.
The schists are greenish in colour and are well foliated, as a rule,
but in places the bedding becomes indistinct, and the rock assumes
a very massive character. The transition is nowhere abrupt, and
probably indicates a gradual passage from a volcanic centre, usually
diabasic in character, outwards to tuffaceous and well stratified ash
The volcanic schists are interbedded with argillites, and occasionally
with beds of limestone and dolomite.
Triassic beds, consisting of dark calcareous  shales passing into an Triassic beds.
impure limestone, occur in the second range of the Rocky Mountains,
and a band of  similar  rocks  forming part of  the third  range  may
possibly belong to the same foundation.    Specimens of Monotis sub-
circularis are abundant in the first-mentioned locality.
Cretaceous beds occur in  the  foot-hills, but were not recognized in Cretaceous
the mountains.    The conglomerate and sandstones found in the valley
of Tacla Lake resemble Cretaceous rocks found elsewhere in the province, but no direct proof of their age was obtained.
Tertiary (Upper Laramie).
Beds consisting of conglomerates, interbedded in places with shales Laramie.
and sandstones, occupy the bottom of the valley of the Finlay from
the Ingenica River north to the Tochieca, and continue northwards
along the valley of the latter stream.    Similar beds appear again on 36 c
of Laramie.
the Finlay a few miles farther west in a parallel longitudinal valley,
which it enters and follows for some distance. They are also found
on the Omenica from the Black Cafion up to its junction with the
The pebbles of the conglomerate are usually small, but in places are
several inches in diameter. They consist mainly of slate, quartz, and
limestone. Oxide of iron is occasionally present in the matrix in
sufficient quantities to give a reddish coloration to exposures. The
shales are dark in colour, are evenly bedded, and are interstratified in
places with small lignite seams. The sandstones are usually somewhat argillaceous, and occasionally consist largely of mica derived from
the disintegration of the underlying schists.
The Tertiary conglomerates and associated rocks, as stated on a
previous page, are distributed in narrow strips along the deep valleys
of the district and were nowhere found on the highlands. They were
probably deposited in lakes during a Tertiary depression, and evidence
the pre-Tertiary age of the present main river-channels. The conglomerates are occasionally horizontal or nearly so, but in most cases
they are tilted at angles ranging from 10° to 40°, showing that they
have been affected to some extent by the later mountain-making
Some leaves and other plant remains, obtained from the shales
interbedded with the conglomerates, were examined by Sir J. Wm.
Dawson, who has kindly furnished the following note on them :—
" The collection is small, and the specimens imperfect, more especially
in respect to the finer venation and margins of leaves. The following
forms were recognized :—
" Arundo.—A ribbed stem possibly of this genus.    Omenica River.
" Sequoia.—Plentiful in Finlay River shales; appears to be S. Langs
dorffii. On the black flags from Omenica Ptiver there is another form,
which may be distinct, and shows curious terminal buds. There are
also branchlets referable to S. Couttsice.
" Populus.—A leaf of the type of P. Arctica, Heer, P. Nebrascensis,
Newberry, and P. speciosa, Ward, if these are really distinct,
Omenica River.
" Platanus.—Possibly P. Haydenii, Lesquereux, or allied species.
Omenica River.
" Quercus.—A fragment possibly of this genus.    Omenica River.
" Grewia or Grewiopsis.—This is a genus allied to Tilia. A single
imperfect leaf may represent it.    Finlay River.
" Viburnum.—Apparently V. aspera, Newberry, or near to it. MCCONNELL.
geological'summary. 37 c
" Carpolite.—A single imperfect specimen resembling Legumenosites
arachnoides of Lesquereux.
"Animal Fossils.—Minute bivalve shells of two kinds, one possibly
an Estheria, another perhaps a Cyprid.
" All the above fossils, so far as determinable, appear to indicate
the Upper Laramie period. Of the collections in my possession, the
plants seem most nearly to resemble those of the Lignitic series on the
Mackenzie River, which are referable to the Upper Laramie. There
is nothing among the plants to indicate any other horizon."
Evidences of glaciation abound throughout the district. In the Glacial groov-
Peace River Pass, well-marked glacial groovings occur on the south mgs'
side of the river two miles east of Mount Selwyn. The movement of
the ice here was eastward. Glacial groovings of a pronounced character,
running in an easterly direction, were observed on the hillsides north
of the Omenica River twelve miles above Germansen Landing, and
they are also reported to occur on the summit of a mountain south of
Manson Creek at an elevation of 5000 feet above the sea. No groovings were found along the Finlay, but the exposures on the mountain
slopes north-east of Fort Grahame present in many instances the smooth
rounded characters of rocks polished by moving ice. The movement
here was in a south-easterly direction.
The glacial deposits consist of boulder-clay, accompanied by gravels,
sands and silts.
In Peace River Pass, gravels, sands, and silts of glacial age are of Glacial de-
constant occurrence, and boulder-clay holding striated stones occurs in '
a couple of places. On the Omenica River, a high bank of stratified
sands, silts and gravels occurs below the Black Cafion, and boulder-
clay accompanied with sand and gravel was found above the mouth of
the Oslinca. Below Germansen Landing, light-colouring silts weathering into steep bluffs are exposed for several miles along the valley.
From Germansen Landing to Hogem the immediate shores of the
river are low and are mostly built of alluvium.
Boulder-clay is developed to a greater extent on some of the tributaries of the Omenica than on the river itself. High banks of this
material occur on Germansen Creek and on Manson Creek, and in
both cases are underlain by fluvio-glacial gravels, which are often auriferous. Boulder-clay banks of considerable thickness were also found
on Vital Creek and on Tom's Creek. 38 o
Glacial sue
Morainic hills, among which small lakes are interspersed, occur near
the summit of the pass leading from Tom's Creek to Tacla Lake.
On the Finlay River, boulder-clay is scarce below Deserter's Cafion.
The river in this stretch is bordered for long distances by banks of
alluvial clays and sands, and where the higher terraces are cut into, the
sections show, as a rule, only the upper stratified sands and silts. From
Deserters' Cafion to the bend of the Finlay, boulder-clay banks, some
of which are 225 feet in height, are frequent. The boulder-clay here
is often imperfectly stratified and often passes horizontally into gravel
beds. Striated stones are common, but the majority of the pebbles are
water-worn to a varying extent. No boulder-clay was noticed on the
Finlay above its bend, the banks usually consisting of rolled gravels
overlying the older rocks in the swifter portions of the stream, and of
alluvial clays and sands where the current becomes sluggish.
Terraces were observed at a number of places. Along Peace River
Pass they occur up to a height of about 400 feet and on the Omenica
below the mouth of the Oslinca, up to a height of 250 feet. On the
Finlay, north-east of Fort Grahame, rolled gravels and traces of terraces
easily distinguishable at a distance, occur up to a height of 2000 feet
above the river. High terraces were also noticed lining the sides of
the mountains at the Fishing Lakes. A well-marked terrace, built of
silty clay and gravel, occurs here at a height of 1250 feet above the
river or 4500 feet above the sea, and others less distinct were found
up to a height of 1950 feet above the river.
The glacial succession, when fully developed, consists in ascending
order of gravels, associated in places with stratified sands and silts;
boulder-clays holding occasional pebble beds; stratified sands, clays
and gravels ; and terraces. The position of the light coloured silts on
the Omenica, below Germansen Landing, was not ascertained, as
their contact with the other members of the glacial section is concealed.
The alluvium-filled rock-basins which the Finlay enters six miles
above the Thudaca, and the Omenica, near Slate Creek, probably
owe their origin to recent differential crustal movements.
Economic Notes.
Discoveries of     The first discovery of gold in the Peace River country was made on
8 the Parsnip, about 20 miles above its mouth, by Bill Cust, in 1861.
In the following year Pete Toy's bar on the Finlay, a few miles below
the Omenica was found, and for some time proved wonderfully productive, the yield amounting to about $50 per day to the man.    Silver UCCONNELL.
Creek, a tributary of the Omenica, was found in 1868, and Vital Creek,
a branch of the former, in 1869. In 1870, diggings were found on
Germansen Creek and the following year on Slate, Manson and Lost
Creeks. No further discoveries were made until Tom's Creek was
struck in 1889.
The population of the country  reached its maximum about 1872, Population,
and has since steadily declined.    In 1893 four miners were working
on Germansen Creek, eight on Manson Creek, three on Vital Creek
and  about twenty on  Tom's  Creek.    The other  creeks  have been
worked out and deserted.
The total production of the camp up to the present time,  judging Production,
from the fragmentary statistics of the district published in the Annual
Reports of Minister of Mines for British Columbia,  and from other
sources, probably approaches closely to, if it does not exceed, a million
The gold in the Omenica region has been obtained principally from Auriferous
the gravels overlying the older rocks, in the beds of the present streams. Laveis
The gravels, as a rule, have little depth,  and the productive portions
of the different streams seldom exceed three miles in length.    No
deep  diggings  or  extensive  hydraulic   workings have  so  far  been
attempted in the district.
The auriferous gravels underlying the boulder-clay on Germansen, Auriferou
Manson and other creeks in the district have a wide distribution and travels
promise favourable results if worked on a sufficiently large scale.    A
short tunnel was driven into a bank of this description on Germansen
Creek by Mr. Clinton in 1892, and sufficient gold taken out to pay
small wages.     Water can be obtained almost anywhere from lakes
and   mountain streams, within a reasonable distance, and the only
drawback to successful hydraulic mining is the great expense attendant on the carriage of material and supplies from the coast.    The Transporta-
absence of  easily navigable waterways,  and  the  mountainous  and
swampy character of the surrounding country, present obstacles to
transportion which can only be overcome at great expense.    At the
present time, the greater part of the supplies are brought in by pack
animals from Hazleton at the Forks of the Skeena, the rate to Manson
Creek amounting to 17 cents per pound.
Some prospecting has been done in the Omenica region every season Prospecting
since its auriferous character became known, but the district has by
no means been thoroughly explored.    The discovery of pay gravels on
Tom's  Creek, close to Vital  Creek, twenty years after the later was
found, shows how loose the examination has been, nor need this be 40 c
Gold on the
Galena veins
Occurrence of
Rocks probably metalliferous.
wondered at when the short seasons, difficult travelling and high prices
of supplies are taken into account. That further discoveries of auriferous creeks will be made admits of little doubt.
Fine gold occurs on the Finlay throughout most of its course, but
with the exception of Pete Toy's bar, previously referred to, no paying
placers have been discovered. Very little prospecting has, however,
been done on this stream, and with the exception of the Ospica, none
of the tributaries, so far as I could learn, have ever been prospected.
Gold, mostly in a fine condition, was found in ascending the river,
at the mouths of the Ingenica, the Quadacha, and the Tochieca, and
also on two of the smaller western tributaries, one of which enters the
Finlay eight miles below Paul's Branch, and the other six miles above
the Tochieca. With the exception of the Quadacha no " colours"
were found on the eastern or Rocky Mountain streams above Deserters' Cafion.
No ore mining has so far been attempted in the Omenica region
owing to the want of transportation facilities, although the existence
of large veins of highly argentiferous galena has been known for many
years.* Arquerite or silver-amalgam is also of common occurrence in
the placer diggings on Silver Creek, and on Vital and Tom's Creek,
two of its tributaries. The two latter streams are of little length, and
a systematic examination of their basins could be made at small expense.
The gold in the Omenica district occurs in a coarse condition, nuggets often being found with quaftz still attached to them, and is evidently derived from the band of green schists and argillites previously
described which outcrops along the Omenica and its tributaries from
below Germansen Landing west nearly to Tacla Lake. All the auriferous creeks worked up to the present are situated within this zone,
which has a width of forty-eight miles. The schists, of which it is
formed, are everywhere much disturbed, are broken up by intrusions of
granitic and other eruptive rocks, and present in this and other ways
promising indications that they are metalliferous in character.
♦Report of Progress, Geol. Surv. Can., 1879-80, p. Ill B. Geological Survey ok Canada.
Annual Report, Vol. VII., Part C.
R. G. McConncll, Photo., Aug., 189.3.
MOUTH OV LONG CANON, FINLAY RIVF.R. Geological Survey op Canada.
Annual Report, Vol. VII., Part C.
JR. (1. McdonneV, Photo., Aug., ISPS.


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