Canadian Shield


Tundra Hills


Wilberforce Falls
Wilberforce Falls
© Parks Canada

BREAKFAST WITH CARIBOU, LUNCH WITH MUSKOX

The coast consists of precipitous banks ... the shale was in a state of ignition in many places and the hot sulphureous airs from the land were strongly contrasted with the cold sea-breezes ... the baked clays of yellow, brown, white and red colours caused the place to resemble a brick field or pottery.

J. Richardson, 1826,
 describing the "Smoking Hills"

THE LAND:

The western part of this region is underlain by sedimentary bedrock in undisturbed horizontal layers creating a landscape of plains, patterned ground and pingos. The eastern part of the region is part of the ancient Canadian Shield. Here the topography is rugged and hilly, with many lakes, large and small. The ice sheets have added the final touches to the landscape - eskers, drumlins, deposits of glacial till and other glacial features. Step-like series of raised cobble beaches and marine clay deposits more than 60 metres above sea level are a testimonial to the combination of higher sea levels in post-glacial times and the re-bounding of the land after being released from the weight of the glaciers. The rivers have cut deep gorges and canyons through the sedimentary bedrock. These have been compared to the canyons of the southwest United States. Wilberforce Falls on the Hood River is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Canada.

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this region is the "smoking hills", a site of slow-burning bituminous coal.

In this landscape, which resembles paintings of Hell, sulphur fumes have killed off the vegetation, and smoke billows from the cracks in the ash-covered ground.

Smoking Hills
Smoking Hills
© Parks Canada


National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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