Brundage Point River Centre

Rocks

Although the bedrock geology is hard to see at the Brundage Point River Centre it still shapes the landscape all around. The rocks at Brundage Point and across the St. John River on the Kingston Peninsula are mostly Silurian age volcanic rocks, about 435 million years old. They are relatively hard rocks and are responsible for the rolling hills seen in the distance. The hills have been smoothed by glaciers that covered the entire area during the most recent glaciation. The river valley has also been smoothed by glaciers.

The St. John and Kennebecasis river valleys follow the bedrock structure along the Kingston Peninsula. They are also following major fault boundaries separating geologic terranes.

Terrane

A terrane is a fragment of the earth’s crust formed on, or broken off from, one piece of the earth’s crust (or tectonic plate) and attached or welded to the crust on another plate. The fragment of crust preserves its own distinctive geologic history that is different from the crust it has become welded to. They are often referred to as ‘exotic terranes’ since they have come from somewhere else. Some have travelled halfway across the globe. New Brunswick is composed of a series of terranes stacked up against the older core of North America. Each slice has its own geological story and relates to a complex history of how New Brunswick came together. Stonehammer park itself is made of many terranes and has a complicated geologic past. Brundage Point is located on the Kingston Terrane. As the St. John River makes its way to the Bay of Fundy is will cross two more terranes.

Ice Age River

The St. John River flows past Brundage Point on its way to the sea. Fifteen kilometres from here the river passes through the Reversing Rapids gorge and into the Bay of Fundy. The view from here has changed dramatically over the years. 15,000 years ago this valley was completely covered by glaciers. When the glaciers retreated the ocean flooded this valley past Fredericton to create an inland sea. Over thousands of years sea level dropped and the land rebounded as the weight of glacial ice was removed. The connection to the sea was cut-off and a series of waterfalls formed at the Reversing Rapids in Saint John. The St. John River became a large lake.

Sea level has been rising again for thousands of years and the land has slowly subsided. The result has been the flooding of the mouth of the Saint John River again as the sea overtopped the rock ridges at the Reversing Rapids. The ‘reversing’ of the rapids is a relatively recent phenomenon. It has only been about 3,000 years since the rising tides have force the St. John River to flow backwards. The waterfalls have been drowned and the effect of the tide can be seen upriver of Brundage Point.

Access:
Year Round
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Yes
Hours:
Dawn Till Dusk
Location:
Hwy 177, Grand Bay-Westfield
Address:
4 Ferry Road
Grand Bay-Westfield, New Brunswick
E5K 0A8 ~ Canada
GPS:
45.3476675, -66.2236648

Hampton Lighthouse River Centre

Rocks

The rocks near the Hampton Lighthouse River Centre are rarely seen. This part of the Kennebecasis River follows softer rocks of the Carboniferous Mabou Group. The valley is bounded on the south by sandstone and conglomerate of the Kennebecasis Formation and on the north by Silurian volcanic rocks.  The river here meanders along the flat valley and is the land is quite marshy. The looping meanders of a mature river can be seen on the geological map. In this case the bedrock you do not see is controlling the landscape. To the southwest the river turns west along a fault line until it becomes trapped between the Devonian Kennebecasis Formation and the Silurian Bayswater Formation.

Modern Analogues

An interesting geological lesson learned here is that of modern analogues. We can examine the modern environment to help us understand paleoenvironments. To the east of Hampton, Highway 1 passes through impressive outcrops of the Albert Formation. These sedimentary rocks were formed 350 million years ago. Small ripple marks and large scale ripples can be seen along the highway. Fossil logs, fish and trace fossils have been found in the Albert Formation. What kind of environment was this?

If you take a boat ride along the Kennebecasis River at Hampton, look down into the river. It is often shallow enough to see ripples on the bottom, waterlogged logs rolling downriver, fish, and winding trails left by clams and other animals. It looks remarkably like the Albert Formation that geologists believe represents shallow rivers, lakes and swamps from the Early Carboniferous Period.

Floodplains

Low-lying areas along rivers are called floodplains for a reason. Try coming here in April or May. Boating along the narrow stretches of the Kennebecasis River valley is a different experience during flood season. In a kayak or canoe you can paddle through the trees. The geologic map identifies the flat-lying Carboniferous Mabou Group. The river meanders from one side of the valley to the other. Old meander scars are visible on the geologic map or on satellite images. During flood season the entire valley is susceptible to flooding.

Access:
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Hours:
Dawn Till Dusk
Location:
Address:
1075 Main Street
Hampton, New Brunswick
E5N 6G1 ~ Canada
GPS:
45.5416133, -65.8365364
Phone:
Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark