Most travelers exploring the rugged terrane of Vancouver Island are unaware of the island’s fiery history. Like Phoenix from the Ashes, the igneous volcanic and granitic rock that would become Wrangellia and later Vancouver Island, began as eruptions of searing molten magma out in the Pacific some 380 million years ago, then cooling the peaceful terrane we see today.
From the searing Devonian to the cooler Triassic, some 245 million years ago, Vancouver Island sat in an incubator beneath the sea.
Marine fauna deposited… built up… 230 million years ago the crust split apart and huge masses of molten lava oozed out, cooling quickly into the black basalt of the Karmutsen Formation, the thickest layer found on Vancouver Island.
Much like a kiln is hard on baking, volcanic eruptions do nothing to promote the preservation of fossils - though despite the islands beginnings it has many fossil outcrops to offer. From the nearshore marine fauna of the Sooke Formation near the islands southernmost tip, to the much older Cretaceous faunas found on the Gulf Islands, it is a gorgeous place to explore.