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Chapter 13: Mining and Oil Extraction

13.11: Gravel Pits and Oil Extraction West of Virden

The photo shows topography west of Virden, the edges of which—fringed by the north/south CN line 1—can be seen at the right-hand edge of the photo. The small stream Bosshill Creek 2, tributary to the Assiniboine, winds its way eastward across ground moraine topography. Four sand/gravel extraction areas can be seen. Two large areas 3 lie on either side of the north/south PTH 83 4 with another 5 in the southeast angle between PTH 83 and the east/west PR 237 6. Another lies north of PR 237 further west 7. All show the characteristic light tones and the apparently haphazard arrangement of paths within them.

Virden is the centre of Manitoba’s oil industry, the Virden field being one of 11 small oilfields located in southwest Manitoba.[i] Evidence of the field is difficult—but not impossible—to see on the photo. Several small, usually light-toned objects 8 west of Virden are oil wellheads with “grasshopper” pumps. In one case 9 storage containers can be seen, and pipelines 10 join some wellheads. A pipeline runs from the west 11 (from Cromer off the photo) to the eastern edge towards Virden. It is very clear in the west 12 but less so as it approaches Virden 13.

Other features to note on this photo are: a) a nine-hole golf course with dark-toned greens 14; b) Virden’s cemetery near the southern edge 15; c) light-toned crests in fallow fields with sandy soils 16; d) some cultivated fields resulting in dark tones 17; and e) a radio tower with a shadow falling to the northeast 18 indicating the photo was taken in the afternoon.

Figure 13.11: Gravel Pits and Oil Extraction West of Virden

Figure 13.11: Gravel Pits and Oil Extraction West of Virden

Figure 13.11

Vertical air photograph: A20407-26

Flight height: 9520 feet; lens focal length: 6 inches

Scale: 1:16,300 (approx.)

Date: June 12, 1968

Location: Township 10; Range 26W1

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62F Virden

                    1:50,000 62F/15 Virden


[i] Young, H. R. op. cit., 1996, figure 16.12.