Maryhill near Kitchener, Ontario - glacial landforms

Saturday, August 24, 2002

By: Peter Van Dreil, Paul F. Karrow and Peter Russell

map of Maryhill

This map of Maryhill was hand drawn by Peter Van Dreil, graduate student in the Earth sciences department. Peter produced other maps, which appeared in Wat on Earth, Volume 14, number 1. By the use of maps, air photos and his own exploration of the area Peter enhances the features of the topography. The topography of the Maryhill area near Kitchener has been modified by glacial and post-glacial activity.

topography of the Maryhill area near Kitchener

Pleistocene deposits up 30 metres thick blanket the bedrock surface. The till plain in this area is sandy Port Stanley Till. Ice motion across the area is shown by fluting of the till surface and formation of drumlins. These features show that the Wentworth Till was deposited from a glacier spreading out towards the northwest, from the Lake Ontario Basin. Drumlins are commonly between 1 and 1.6 km long, 0.5 km wide and 15 metres high.

Maryhill Church perched on top of a drumlin

Maryhill Church perched on top of a drumlin.

The speed of ice melting and advance remained the same for a period allowing the formation of an end moraine. The end moraine in Maryhill ( part of the Breslau moraine) rises about 23 metres above the surrounding sandy till plain.

In the northeast part of the area is a thin sharp-crested sand and gravel ridge, which formed in the same direction as the ice-movement. The ridge is an esker. Eskers formed as meltwater streams flowed under the stagnating ice. A stream eroded the ice under the glacier and deposited sand in the space. As with any stream, some areas were subject to erosion and others to deposition. Eskers are generally intermittent, with the separated sand ridges joined by trough-like depressions. This esker is part of the Guelph Esker, which can be followed from the City of Guelph to West Montrose on the Grand River. In many places eskers have been worked for sand and gravel, destroying these physical features.

Port Stanley Till, Maryhill Till, Drumlin

Hopewell Creek flows in a valley filled with outwash sand and gravel. The valley filled with sorted and stratified gravel and sand as sediment laden melt water flowed across the area.

Pleistocene Geology map modified from Ontario Department of Mines Map 2133 GUELPH AREA Pleistocene Geology by Paul F. Karrow, 1968.

Port Stanley Till plain from Maryhill Church

Port Stanley Till plain from Maryhill Church