Hills and Valleys
The Units within this District are:
581 Cumberland Hills
582 Pictou Valleys
583 Antigonish Uplands
584 Ainslie Uplands
585 Iona Uplands
Geology and Landscape Development
This District includes two areas of Carboniferous strata that have the characteristics of foothills. They are adjacent to faulted upland blocks which have moved vertically upwards in the landscape. The close interrelationship of resistant
Horton Group strata and the overlying, less-resistant Windsor Group limestone, salts, and shales is strongly reflected in the eastern sections of this District (Units 583, 584, and 585).
|Nova Scotia Highland Village, Iona
Click to enlarge
Some areas are lowland, others are upland, reflecting both the position of these strata on the tilted planation surface and the relative proportions of Horton and Windsor deposits. Except in the Pictou Valleys Unit, these strata have been compressed into folds which lie parallel to the axis of the province. Typically, erosion has removed Horton strata in the centre of anticlines (upfolds) and left the Windsor strata in the synclinal hollows in between. In some locations Windsor strata have also been protected from erosion by downfaulting, as in the Pictou Valleys. Where resistant Horton grits are exposed, they stand as ridges and as shoulders on the flanks of highland blocks. The Windsor deposits form low areas and valleys in which salt springs and brackish lakes are common.
These landscapes generally lie below 200 m but, owing to river erosion, exhibit varied relief. The exception is the southern portion of the Ainslie Uplands (Unit 584), which tends to be both higher and less dissected. The latter area also possesses less settlement than the norm; elsewhere there are lines of sparse settlement along the valley floors. The dendritic drainage patterns preclude lakes, so water features are seldom present. Lake Ainslie and the shorelines of the Grand Narrows (Unit 585a) are the major exceptions. Scenic value is high to very high around the lakes, on the edge of the Mabou highland, and at Mabou Harbour. Elsewhere it is typically in the medium range. The Pictou and Springhill coalfields possess urban-industrial landscapes which, though hardly attractive, have much of human interest.