A One-Day Short Course by Dr. John Clague, Emeritus Professor at Simon Fraser University

Glacial Landforms and Sediments of British Columbia

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, 1180 West Hastings, Vancouver


The VGS will be hosting a one-day short course on February 1, 2017 on the topic of Glacial Landforms and Sediments of British Columbia, delivered by Dr. John Clague.

Purpose and Background:

Understanding of geomorphology and geological processes is essential for engineering geologists and geotechnical engineers who characterize geohazards and interpret soil behavior.  The focus of this short course will be to provide attendees with an understanding of glacial landforms and sediments of British Columbia. 

Course Learning Objectives:

Key learning objectives for short course attendees are as follows:

•    Understand the recent (Quaternary) geologic history of British Columbia and the Yukon.
•    Learn how geomorphology and stratigraphy provide information on hazardous natural processes such as earthquakes, landslides, and debris flows.
•    Understand the processes that have created and continue to shape our landscape.
•    Better understand the 3D distribution of unconsolidated sediments that cover bedrock over large areas of British Columbia and the Yukon. 
•    Understand the engineering properties of the different types of surface and near-surface sediments in British Columbia and Yukon, as well as the sedimentary processes responsible for these materials.
•    Acquire knowledge of the importance of surficial geology in geotechnical practice.

Who Should Attend?

•    This short course is aimed at engineering geologists who deal with glacial soils in their practice, and geotechnical engineers who rely on understanding of soil deposits to characterize soil behavior.

Course Outline

  • 8:00 – 8:30 Course Sign-in / Coffee
  • 8:30 – 10:00 Introduction
    • Interesting aspects of the Quaternaruy
    • Why is the Quaternary important?
    • The ‘Ice Ages’ and Earth history
    • The Cenozoic ice age
    • The ‘tool kit’ of a Quaternary geologist – stratigraphy, geomorphology (including remote sensing, LiDAR, and InSAR), geochronology
  • 10:00 - 10:15 Break
  • 10:15 - 11:45 Quaternary geology of British Columbia
    • Sediments and landforms
    • Seeking order in complex Quaternary sediment sequences
    • Examples of Quaternary sediment sequences in British Columbia
    • Crustal deformation and sea-level change
  • 11:45 - 1:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 – 2:30 Quaternary geology of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
    • Cenozoic framework
    • Pleistocene ice cover
    • The last glaciation and its erosional and depositional record
    • Postglacial (Holocene) events
  • 2:30 - 2:45 Break
  • 2:45 - 4:15 Applied Quaternary geology and geomorphology (examples)
    • Earthquake hazards and risk, BC south coast
    • Landslide and debris flow hazards, Cheekye Fan


Dr. John Clague is an Emeritus Professor at Simon Fraser University. He was educated at Occidental College (B.A.), the University of California Berkeley (M.A.), and the University of British Columbia (Ph.D.).  Dr. Clague worked as a Research Scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada from 1975 until 1998.  In 1998, he accepted a faculty position in the Department of Earth Sciences at Simon Fraser University.  He is currently Director of the Centre for Natural Hazard Research at Simon Fraser University.  

Dr. Clague is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, former President of the Geological Association of Canada, and Past-President of the International Union for Quaternary Research and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (APEGBC).  He is recipient of the Geological Society of America Burwell Award, the Royal Society of Canada Bancroft Award, APEGBC’s Innovation Editorial Board Award, the Geological Association of Canada’s (GAC) E.R.W Neale Medal, and GAC’s Logan Medal and Ambrose Medal. He was the 2007-2008 Richard Jahns Distinguished Lecturer for the Geological Society of America and Association of Environmental and Engineering Geology.