MB GeoTour 32 – Precambrian Soapstone Outcrop 2014
A soapstone outcrop is located along an all season gravel road, 8 km north of the Wanipigow River bridge (MB GeoTour 33) and PR 304. It is one of only six known soapstone occurrences in Manitoba (10-36-25-9E1, NTS 62P1NE, NAD 83, Zone 14U, 694770E, 5673215N).
A Precambrian soapstone outcrop, which is located along an all season gravel road, 6 km north of the Wanipigow River bridge and PR 304. Soapstone is a soft metamorphic rock, with an unctuous feel, which is comprised mainly of talc, but has varying amounts of mica, chlorite, amphibole and pyroxene; derived from the alteration of ferromagnesian silicate minerals (American Geological Institute, 1972). It has long been used for stone carving.
This video shows one of six known soapstone occurrences in Manitoba. The Precambrian outcrop is situated 6 km north of the Wanipigow River bridge (GeoTour 33), along a new all-season road on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, from PR 304 to Bloodvein First Nation; and is being constructed northward to the community of Berens River. The outcrop is situated at the base of cliff face on the east side of the road, within the road allowance.
According to the American Geological Institute (1972), soapstone is defined as a soft metamorphic rock, with an unctuous feel, which is comprised mainly of talc, but having varying amounts of mica, chlorite, amphibole and pyroxene; derived from the alteration of ferromagnesian silicate minerals.
Other locations of soapstone noted in the province are:
• south shore of Lower Ospwagan Lake (NTS 63O9SE). It is accessible from PTH 6, via a 3 km long west-trending gravel road, 25 km south of Thompson (Theyer, 1998).
• shores of four small islands that form Pipestone Rock, 8 km north of Deer Island, in the south basin of Lake Winnipeg (NTS 62P7NE). Mr. Langlois from Selkirk, Manitoba described the occurrence in 1993 (Winnipeg Free Press; December 12, 1993). On October 22, 1997, all mineral rights were withdrawn by Parks Branch.
• a hard serpentine stone has been quarried near the east shore of Clangula Lake, southeast of the mouth of the Wanipigow River (NTS 62P1NE). The quarries were briefly by Russell (1949, p. 14).
• a soapstone occurrence has been reported near Cross Lake in NTS 63I. Access to the occurrence must be arranged through Cross Lake First Nation (204) 676-2218.
• soapstone was recovered during Inco Limited’s former nickel mining operations at the Pipe Open Pit Mine, south of Thompson (NTS 63O8NE) in the 1970s (Gunter and Yamada, 1985, p. 185).
The stone was stockpiled for use of local carvers; however according to the company, all suitable material was removed from the site.
In the past, the soapstone has had a quarry lease, which permitted the removal of blocks for carving purposes. Several carvers have turned the stone into attractive works of art.
American Geological Institute 1972: Glossary of Geology; American Geological Institute, Falls Church, Virginia, p. 670.
Bailes, A.H. and Percival, J.A. 2005: Geology of the Black Island area, Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba (parts of NTS 62P1, 7 and 8); Manitoba Industry, Economic Development and Mines, Manitoba Geological Survey, Geoscientific Report GR2005-2, 33 p.
Gunter, W.R. and Yamada, P.H. 1985: Evaluation of industrial mineral occurrences in the Thompson area; in Report of Field Activities 1985, Manitoba Energy and Mines, Geological Services, Mines Branch, p. 185–186.
Russell, G.A. 1949: Geology of the English Brook area; Manitoba Mines and Natural Resources, Mines Branch, Preliminary Report, Publication 48-3, 22 p.
Theyer, P. 1998: A new source of carveable soapstone in the vicinity of Thompson, Manitoba (part of NTS 63O/9); Manitoba Energy and Mines, Geological Services, Open File Report OF98-8, 3 p.