Geoscience at YVR: International Departures terminal

The Vancouver airport international departures terminal between Gates 60 to 70 features more relaxing-for-an-airport geoscience than any other airport I’ve visited. A 60 m freshwater river terminates at the base of a 114,000 L saltwater aquarium of approximately 850 sea creatures indigenous to British Columbia. Although the river is bordered by boulder-shaped concrete and not actual interesting rocks, the scattering of stones within the river bed are representative of those found in the nearby Fraser River (or, more accessibly, the stones dredged from the river and used to build out Wreck Beach around the University of British Columbia campus). The walls and floor also feature decorative relatively-local rocks, with enough variety to keep a geologist busy while waiting for the call to board.

The entire area is set up for relaxed lounging, with small cushy seating areas and lots of daylight. The relative lack of power sockets reduces the utility of the lounge-space doubling as an airport-office, although the free wifi does compensate a bit. I appreciate that no fish are in the freshwater river, thus preventing poisoning-via-lucky-coin-toss that inevitably happens when the public encounters enclosed water.

My biggest disappointment in the display is the lack of informational signs or plaques on site, or page on the airport website. The inclusion of plaques giving a brief geologic history of British Columbia (the scrapings of subducting plates gluing on to an existing continent, lots of volcanism and glacial scour, and the last few thousand years of rivers depositing sediments), identifying fish, or even just discussing that the display represents a common environment in the province (temperate rainforests with creeks running into the ocean) would increase the educational value while simultaneously providing a tiny bit more entertainment for travelers wasting time in the terminal.

This entry was posted in Geoscience and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *