Students conducting fieldwork at Geol206 Earth Science Field School

Explore Vancouver Island and the surrounding area

The Nanaimo campus of Vancouver Island University is located in the south-central region of Vancouver Island. This gives us easy access to field sites all over Vancouver Island, the north and south Gulf Islands, and the Lower Mainland of BC. Some amazing field sites are within walking distance of the campus. 

Vancouver Island has many great exposures of different rock types ranging in age from Paleozoic to Pleistocene, and the rocks that underlie Nanaimo are recognized as one of best Cretaceous fossil localities in British Columbia. Most of our courses involve field work to give students hands-on experience with the variety of rock types and fossils that are found in the Earth’s crust. 

Vancouver Island is also situated close to the active boundary of three tectonic plates – the Pacific Plate, the Juan de Fuca Plate, and the North American Plate.  The ongoing interaction between these tectonic plates has the potential to generate large earthquakes and volcanic activity.  For more information on current research in this field check out the Geological Survey of Canada website.

Geological map of Vancouver Island