Rivers in Rock
Elora Gorge Field Companion and Natural History
This richly illustrated book is both a visitor’s guide to one of southwestern Ontario’s most striking landforms – the Elora Gorge on the Upper Grand River – and a thorough, accessible introduction to its natural and recent human history.
The book introduces rivers that flow in bedrock, between rock walls and through precipitous gorges, unlike the subdued terrain that the last Ice Age bequeathed most of southwestern Ontario. It then leads the visitor to three viewpoints on and three excursions through the gorge, with a wealth of information about its rocks, fossils, caves, cliffs, rockslides, rockfalls, floods and erosional processes. It takes the reader through five “ages” of the gorge. In the First Age the gorge bedrock originated as reef limestone 430 million years ago in prehistoric tropical seas. The Second Age saw the gorge rocks make a great, 400-million-year journey from tropical seas to the heart of a continent via plate tectonics. In the Third Age, the retreating Laurentide Ice Sheet created conditions 17,000 to 15,000 years ago in which ice lobes, glacial lakes and meltwater spillways interacted to incise the gorge in an ice-free area known as the Ontario Island. In the Fourth Age the gorge, nestled in an immense forest, developed at a slower pace moderated by dense woods, fallen branches and beaver dams. In the Fifth Age, the gorge entered the Anthropocene as European settlers came to disrupt and dominate its development and unlock its secrets.
Full of original photographs, maps and diagrams, Rivers in Rock is an authoritative guide to the Elora Gorge that will fascinate visitors and researchers alike.