Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Kenneth Hewitt

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The Niagara Escarpment is generally viewed as a relict landform which shows ancient structural features and the effects of glaciation. Since it was realized that the Escarpment was not a fault, but instead a feature of erosional origin, little interest has been paid to development of the steep cliffed section of the Niagara Escarpment. This research project has several objectives. The first is an examination of the relationship between the morphology of the Escarpment and its geological units. This will include analysis of the structure and lithology of each and the geochemistry, especially, of the Queeston Formation. Associated with the examination of morphology and the lithology is a detailed analysis of the slope components that are involved in, or influence mass movements on, the Niagara Escarpment. This analysis centers around the progressively deepening fractures and the detached blocks of the cap rock. Data-gathering methods included fracture surveys, cross sections, and an examination of the bedding. A Wild ‘Total Station’ was used to precisely map the cliffed zone of the escarpment, since available maps are insufficient for any detailed analysis. In addition to the ‘Total Station’, the simpler method of tape and compass traverses was used to add detail to regions of limited accessibility. The process of mapping the cliffed zone of the Escarpment provided a solid basis for constructing a repeatable, measurable data array that has been used to record large scale mass movements. The research questions the validity of using the so-called ‘homoclinical shifting’ model to interpret development along the Niagara Escarpment. It was shown that undercutting by stream and spring sapping are absent from or remote at the study sites. Finally, this work lends support to a new scarp model for the Niagara Escarpment proposed by Hewitt, Saunderson and Hintz (1995).

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Geomorphology Commons