Rocks that melted under high pressure and temperature and cooled. Credit: NTGS.

South Rae Mapping Project

South Rae Mapping Project

Aerial view of island with a camp


The South Rae project aims to provide better geoscience knowledge for the southeast corner of the Northwest Territories.  This area was last mapped by geologists in the 1950s and 1960s. The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) leads this project as part of their Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) Program.  The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) will be mapping the bedrock geology and sampling lake sediment.  Other partners are examining the structural geology, geologic history and mineral deposits of the area.

Geology map showing South Rae study area. Credit: NTGS.


The project area is located in the southeastern corner of the Northwest Territories, bounded by Saskatchewan and Nunavut. The geological area of interest is the South Rae Province of the Canadian Shield. The map sheets to be investigated include part of the Akaitcho region between the Thelon Game Preserve and the Saskatchewan border (NTS maps 75A, 75B, 75H, 75G, 75J).

Metamorphic minerals that grew under high pressure and temperature.  Credit: NTGS.


Very little research has been conducted in this remote area, and our current geological knowledge is very poor. It is estimated that 80% of the Canadian Shield in southeastern NWT is not mapped to a sufficient level to support informed land-use decisions. A systematic approach to mapping the land is needed to provide enough baseline data necessary for assessing the economic potential and geological history of the area.

Rocks that melted under high pressure and temperature and cooled. Credit: NTGS.


Geological bedrock mapping is conducted by a team of 16 researchers, including government staff and university students. Samples of fist-sized rocks are collected for laboratory analyses. The field observations are compiled and interpreted after each field season and the results of analyses add to our understanding of the geological processes that form the land we walk on today. The data is publically available in the form of geological maps and scientific reports.

Rocks that have been deformed along a fault.  Credit: NTGS.


The project began in the summer of 2012 with preliminary field work conducted by GSC researchers. The NTGS is currently collaborating on the project by providing bedrock mapping and lake sediments sampling expertise. Field work in 2015 consisted of 5 weeks of mapping and sampling in region covered by NTS maps 75A and B. Mapping will be conducted in 2016 in NTS 75G and H. Final results of the research will be published as joint NTGO-GSC publications in 2017 and 2018.

Float plane about to land and deliver supplies.  Credit: NTGS.

Partners and Support


Rae Province, tectonic, bedrock mapping, geology map, Snowbird Tectonic Zone, Black Bay Fault, Howard’s Lake Shear Zone, granulite grade metamorphism, Arrowsmith Orogeny, Trans-Hudson Orogeny, Ni-Cu mineralization