Salt Lagoon, Porcher Inlet

Salt Lagoon, Porcher Inlet

by | Aug 16, 2020

Salt Lagoon is an embayment at the foot of the Spiller Range on Porcher Island, about 15 miles (24 km) south-southwest of Port Edward and 15 miles (24 km) north-northeast of Kitkatla, British Columbia. The lagoon is at the head of Porcher Inlet, a narrow channel that intrudes from the south for 8.5 miles (13.7 km) and nearly bisects Porcher Island. The tidal range here can exceed 20 feet (6 m) and the outlet of Salt Lagoon is a narrow channel with several tidal rapids or skookumchucks.

Porcher Island is about 16 miles (25 km) south of Prince Rupert and 3 miles (5 km) from the mainland near the mouth of the Skeena River. The shores of the island are generally flat, while the interior of the island has the Spiller and Chismore mountain ranges, with the latter including Egeria Mountain reaching 2,915 feet (889 m). There are three small communities on the island – Hunts Inlet, Oona River (the largest), and Humpback Bay, and these settlements are mainly dependent on the fishing industry. Porcher Island was named after Commander E.A. Porcher, who was on this coast in 1865-68 commanding HMS Sparrowhawk. When the development of the port city of Prince Rupert was announced, people came from all over the continent to settle, but not all of them lived in the city itself and by 1907 there were dozens of homesteaders on the islands off the mouth of the Skeena River. Porcher Island was first settled by mostly Swedish and Norwegian pioneers who grew fruits and vegetables and raised sheep.

The complex geology of Porcher Island helps explains the intricate landscape. The North American Cordillera is a complex accretionary orogen that has been active as a convergent margin since the Devonian (419.2 to 358.9 Mya), undergoing periods of compression, extension, terrane accretion, and strike-slip shearing. The Coast Range Batholith intruded this region and occupies most of the west coast of British Columbia. This great batholith consists mainly of granodiorite and quartz diorite but contains many inclusions of the older rocks into which the batholith was injected. Salt Lagoon and the Spiller Range have a northwest to southeast alignment that is attributed to a strike-slip shear zone. Read more here and here. Explore more of Salt Lagoon here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2021 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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