Geology and Landforms of Grey and Bruce Counties


"Nothing lasts forever; not cliffs, nor creeks, nor canyons."
A quotation poised above Johnson Canyon in the Canadian Rockies.

In many places our activities accelerate natural processes and we degrade the places we find most inspiring. With living things there is always the hope that nature, if left alone, will recover fairly quickly. Geological formations are not so forgiving.

The aim of this book is to present an overview of the geology and landforms of Grey and Bruce Counties in a format and language which will be accessible to all who are interested in this unique area, while maintaining scientific accuracy. There are many precise technical terms used by experts, often of foreign origin. Some of these have been included for the benefit of those who wish to persue this subject further. It is hoped that the illustrations will help clarify their meaning. There are definitions in the text and in the Glossary and at the back of the book. Newly introduced words are bolded.

In this area much attention is focused on the Niagara Escarpment as a dominant feature, but there are many other interesting formations such as dolostone pavements, sand dunes, and glacial features of all kinds. The bedrock is often dismissed as a "limestone area", whereas very little is limestone, the less soluble dolostone being the dominant surface rock. There are also exposures of older layers such as Queenston Shale and some layers contain many interesting fossils. When the shorelines are examined closely myriads of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock fragments are to be seen. Some of these were transported hundreds of kilometres by glacial ice and meltwater thousands of years ago, and fascinate young and old today with their vibrant colours and curious shapes and patterns.

It is our hope that residents, students and visitors will find this account helpful in developing an appreciation for this treasure house beneath our feet. The large diversity in bedrock and landforms in such a comparatively small area is the basis for great variety of plants and animals to be found in these two counties. For this reason, the preservation of representative areas of geological features is just as important as preserving the living components of these ecosystems.

This book includes the following sections:

  • Township Maps - Geographical and Amalgamated
  • Landscape - Physical Geography
  • Geology
  • Glaciation
  • Lake (Lacustrine) Features
  • Karst Landforms
  • Crevice Caves and Mass Wasting
  • Wind-Formed (Aeolian) Features
  • River-Formed (Fluvial) Features
  • Conservation Geology
  • Underwater Features - Recent Research
  • Sites for Viewing Geological and Landform Features
  • Earth Science ANSIs of Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Maps: Physiography of Grey and Bruce Counties
  • Maps: Geology and Landform Site and ANSI Locations
  • Maps: Bedrock Geology of Grey and Bruce Counties
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