Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Kenneth Hewitt

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The thesis addresses the post-glacial development of the Niagara Cuesta between Hamilton and Collingwood. Conventional thinking on the escarpment during the Holocene suggests that the present morphology developed rapidly following deglaciation due to periglacial processes (Straw, 1966/Tovell 1992). The disruption of the preglacial drainage pattern by drift has meant the escarpment has not been subject to extensive fluvial action along its base, resulting in an extremely slow rate of retreat (Bird, 1980). The concept that the escarpment is a relict feature therefore pervades the modem literature. The apparent motion of the blocks at the face of the escarpment (Hintz, I997) suggests that in the absence of exogenetic processes, a slow development due to endogenetic processes has dominated the modem development of the escarpment. It has been suggested by Hewitt (1997), that the present morphology found at cliffed sections of the escarpment may be due to deformation within the shale layers. ln order to test this hypothesis, the strength properties of the rocks that form the escarpment were tested and compared to the gravitational stresses that would be experienced within the rock mass. The results indicate that both the Cabot Head Shale and the Queenston Shale possess compressive strengths that are below the principal gravitational stress expected within the escarpment. It is therefore concluded that in the absence of high confining stresses. As would be expected near the cliff face, deformation within these formations is occurring.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season


Included in

Geomorphology Commons