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Webster's Falls

Hamilton Ecology and Geology

Geology

The Escarpment 

Hamilton is known for its variety of geological formations. The most evident of which is the Escarpment, locally referred to as "the mountain", it cuts through the city and surrounds the neighbouring Stoney Creek and Dundas regions. It's thanks to the Escarpment that Hamilton is fortunate enough to have over 120 waterfalls, various outstanding vistas and some of the best trails in the region.

The Canadian portion of the Niagara Escarpment runs 725 Km from the tip of Tobermory over to the Niagara region. The Escarpment in Ontario also continues north from Tobermory on Manitoulin Island then disappears under Lake Huron to reappear in Wisconsin. The escarpment contains some of the best exposures of rocks and fossils that date back 405-500 millions years. It is classified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Biosphere Reserve. A Biosphere reserve is a designation for a region that demonstrates a "balanced relationship between humans and the biosphere" and gives an area international recognition for the important ecological and cultural values in an area. 

More information on the escarpment and its geology and ecology can be found at: http://www.escarpment.org/

Karst Features

Karsts are geological formations that include underground caves, drainage basins, passages and other rock formations that are caused by the dissolving action of water on rock and typically found in limestone formations. The geological process occurs over thousands of years and involves a process known as carbon dioxide cascade. Rainwater containing CO2 from the atmosphere falls and collects in the soil. As the CO2 builds it forms a weak solution of carbonic acid. The water seeps through cracks and crevices within the rock, and with time the carbonate (limestone) bedrock dissolves thanks to the acidic water. Overtime these cracks and crevices grow into drainage systems, saves, sinkholes, and other karst features.

In Hamilton the most well known location and example of a Karst is found at Eramosa Karsts. This conservation area contains examples of 16 unique karst features including sinking streams, overflow sinks, dry valleys, a 335meter long cave and even a natural dolomitic limestone bridge. Many Karst features can also be seen along the Niagara Escarpment and dot the cliff sides that wind their way through Hamilton.

Waterfalls

Hamilton is KNOWN for its waterfalls! These are thanks to the Escarpment that winds its way through Hamilton providing the cliffs and elevation to support the falls. With over 120 there is always something new to explore and there is no way we would have the space or time to go over them all here so you can check them out along with information on what they are, where they are, and some cool facts at this site: http://www.waterfalls.hamilton.ca