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Natural Resources of the Halifax County area
Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH)
April 05, 2006
(cf. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. 1997. Managing Natural Resources on Crown Lands. Central Region. IRM Report 97-1. 32p., map.)
Crown lands within the Halifax Regional Municipality
Excluding watercourses. the total land area for Halifax County is 545,370 ha of which 184,930 ha (33.9%) is Crown, and 360,440 ha is under other ownership. Land under lakes, streams, and coastal waters are also Crown lands.
Halifax and Hants counties have 1,300 and 160 lakes respectively. Halifax County has 45,760 hectares of area covered by inland watercourses, while Hants has 9,190 ha. There are 18 rivers of various size that flow southward through Halifax County. 12 rivers flow northward through Hants County into the Bay of Fundy.
Wetlands are defined as land that is saturated or covered with water long enough to promote vegetation and biological activity which is adapted to a wet environment. Types of wetlands include bog, fen, swamp, marsh, and shallow open water. A wetland inventory in 1982 surveyed and rated wetlands on a score of 37 to 108. The survey counted 7,300 wetlands in the two counties and 400 wetlands scored (65+) in the good to best categories.
Coastal areas have very important wildlife habitat and recreational values. These values are further discussed in the Wildlife and Recreational Resource Sectors.
By tracing along the many inlets and headlands of Nova Scotia there is an amazing 7,500 km of shoreline. The coastline of Halifax County has a wealth of major inlets and coastal islands. Apart of sheltered inlets, the Atlantic Coast is exposed, has high wave energy and colder water temperatures.
Parks and Recreation Resources
The geology underlying Halifax and Hants counties spans almost a billion years of the earth's history. It contains several bedrock types and surficial materials. The bedrock types can be grouped into three main units: granites, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
There are two main bodies of granite known as the South Mountain Batholith and Musquodoboit Batholith. The eastern limb of the South Mountain Batholith stretches from the northwest corner of Hants County to the southern tip of the Aspotogan Peninsula and as far east as Halifax. The Musquodoboit Batholith occupies a strip about 5 to 12 km wide in the central portion of Halifax County, extending from Waverley to Sheet Harbour.
Metamorphosed sedimentary rocks underlie most of Halifax County. They consist mainly of slate (Halifax Formation) and sandstone (Goldenville Formation). These Meguma Group rocks are mainly found throughout Halifax County east of Halifax and Bedford, and surround the Musquodoboit Batholith. "Ironstones" and slates of the Halifax Formation have been used to construct many of the historical buildings in Halifax.
Sedimentary rocks occupy the lowland basins in the northern and eastern portions of Hants and the Musquodoboit Valley. These geological units mainly consist of gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, sandstone, shale and minor amounts of salt, kaolin and silica sand. In addition to these economic commodities, there are mineral occurrences and deposits such as barite, lead, zinc, manganese, iron, fluorite and silver.
Most of Halifax and Hants counties are covered by materials deposited by glaciers, during the last ice age. These deposits generally range in thickness from 0 to 10 metres with some hills (drumlins) up to 30 m thick. Sand, gravel and clay are the main materials of economic significance associated with surficial deposits.
In 1989 the fossilized remains of a mastodon was discovered in the gypsum quarry at East Milford. The fossils were preserved in an ancient depression, called a sinkhole, that the animal most likely fell into. Sinkhole occurrences are common in areas underlain by gypsum and limestone. It is possible the similar palaeontological discoveries may occur in the future.
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