Conceptualizing the hydrogeothermal setting of Sloquet Hot Springs in the Canadian Cordillera on unceded St'at'imc Territory: an example of a reconciliation-based approach to field geoscience

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Ashley Van Acken, Tom Gleeson, Darryl Peters, Deborah Curran


Field geoscience has made important scientific advances but has not consistently considered the impact of these geoscience results on communities where the fieldwork is conducted. A reconciliation-based approach calls for critical thought about who defines, participates in, owns, and uses geoscience research, particularly in light of unresolved aboriginal rights and title claims and treaty rights throughout all of Canada. Geothermal research in the Canadian Cordillera has typically focused on hot spring systems and predicting maximum temperatures at depth, estimating fluid circulation depths, and investigating the distribution of hot spring systems and their relation to major geological features that often control thermal fluid flow. Detailed fieldwork to develop local and regional conceptual models of these systems has rarely been conducted and to our best knowledge, never in partnership with a First Nation. The scope of this project was working collaboratively with Xa’xtsa First Nation to conduct detailed structural, hydrologic and hydrogeologic fieldwork to develop local and regional conceptual models of Sloquet Hot Springs, on unceded St'at'imc territory. To motivate our research and provide a successful example of a reconciliation-based approach to field geoscience, we review how resource regulation, research, relationships, and reconciliation interact in British Columbia and consider our community partnership relative to Wong et al (2020)’s 10 Calls for Action for Natural Scientists. Well drilling, testing and monitoring revealed numerous soft zones in the subsurface as well as high transmissivity suggesting bedrock in the area has significant permeability. The annual flux calculated for Sloquet Hot Springs suggests a regional flow contribution from nearby watersheds. Although surface and subsurface observations did not identify the primary fault that conveys high-temperature fluids, the potential locations of buried fault structures are hypothesized based on zones with observably high temperatures and flow along Sloquet Creek. These results and interpretations are synthesized into a conceptual model of a localized hydrogeothermal system with local and regional groundwater flow along permeable pathways in the subsurface and mixing with cooler water before discharging in some of the springs.



Hydrology, Natural Resources Management and Policy, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


groundwater, gr geothermal resources, reconciliation, faults, community-based research, geothermal resources, reconciliation, faults, community-based research


Published: 2021-11-26 05:41

Last Updated: 2021-11-26 13:41


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International