At our February, 2014 monthly meeting, Bert Murphy of Brock University, provided us with a comprehensive tour of the geology of the “Niagara Isthmus”. He noted that most of us call it the Niagara Peninsula but it is actually an isthmus. Many of us learned a lot as he explained that:
- The Niagara Escarpment is actually over 1,000 kilometres long and starts near Rochester and then traverses the Niagara Peninsula and then turns North heading for Tobermory and then pops up repeatedly as it reaches Manitoulin Island and beyond almost as far as Chicago.
- The Niagara River is actually a spillway and not a river.
- Niagara Falls once it erodes to the other end of Goat Island will dry up the American Falls and turn into a series of rapids
- The whirlpool is a rare occurrence in a spillway or river. It was caused by another major river disappearing over time.
- That the 90 degree bends in the Niagara Gorge are due to vertical cracks in the rock walls
- The remnants of the shores of ancient lakes like Lake Iroquois are easily spotted if you know what to look for
- There exist the remains of ancient river gorges at St. Davids and, going west, again at Short Hills Park and then again further west
- That the ground that we live on is rising 8″ every 100 years and 40″ per 100 years around Hudson’s Bay (resulting in the appearance of new islands in the lives of locals there)
- The the Neutral Indians can be considered the original arms-dealing business in the Niagara area where they found weapons grade flint which they sold to any one who would pay for it thereby earning their name “neutral”
- There is a second more modest escarpment in south Niagara which is a major player in the Wainfleet peat bogs ecology
Next month on March 11th, Fiona Hunter of the Biological Sciences Department, Brock University is our speaker. Her talk is entitled “Global warming: Are Infectious Diseases Moving North?” Her research involves studying the behaviour of tics, blackflies and mosquitoes.