Laying the groundwork for understanding

Geologist to speak at Charters River Salmon Centre

  • Mar. 30, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Geology is a fascinating subject at any time, and especially now when the earthquake/tsunami subject is on everyone’s mind.

It’s hard to imagine what a major earthquake will be like in our part of the world, and unnerving to know that it’s a case of when… not if… and the when could be as soon as tomorrow.

Earthquakes don’t give any advance notice but the Sooke Region Museum and Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society do. They’re teaming up to sponsor an entertaining and informative presentation by a highly qualified geologist, a man with a PhD from McGill University.

The event is set for 2 p.m. Sunday, April 10 at the recently completed Charters River Salmon Centre at 2895 Sooke River Road.

Vic Preto is now retired but his professional passion and eloquence are acute.

He knows what he’s talking about and a lot of it on April 10 will be directly related to the questions so many of us keep asking in light of quakes and tidal waves we hear about from elsewhere.

Vic has planned an in-depth presentation that audience members will find riveting, and he will make use of a volume he describes as indispensable in terms of getting a feeling for where we’re at, geologically.

The book is The Geology of Southern Vancouver Island by C.J. Yorath and H.W. Naismith. The field guide, according to Preto is loaded with valuable, interesting information.

Preto was quick to point out that he is not a seismologist, but a related scholar with a keen interest.

No one can foretell with any certainty exactly what will occur in a seismic event, but those with Preto’s background are in a position to formulate an educated guess.

Living on East Sooke water frontage looking west to Whiffin Spit, Preto’s home is mere metres above sea level. With a respectful awareness of natural forces that is possibly greater than yours or mine, he displays a refreshing lack of fear for living on the water.

“There are so many things that can happen,” he pointed out. “I could cross the road and slip on a banana peel…?”

That’s a comforting observation, an acceptance that hazards exist in all environments.

They say knowledge is power, that’s a powerful reason to bone up on the fascinating and unique geological features on our doorstep. We all know about the potholes, for example, but the fact is that our area is geologically separate from the majority of the Island, and the San Juan Fault and Leech River Fault are just a couple of those that intersect on and around the Island’s southern tip.

Getting a grip on the sort of thing we could be up against in a quake is also the responsible thing to do.

Keep these points in mind, and also that seating will be limited for Vic Preto’s presentation. Advance tickets are available at the museum.

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