Shaping the Landscape

Hand-coloured print showing the 'barrel quartz' uncovered at Laidlaw’s Farm in Waverley, NS.

"Miners from Waverley called the veins of gold-bearing quartz ‘barrel quartz’ because of the resemblance to barrels or casks laid side-by-side and end-to-end." Parker, 2009.

How has gold shaped the landscape?

Much of the gold in Nova Scotia is found in quartz veins that formed as the surrounding rocks were being folded. The folds were created when Nova Scotia collided with Africa about 400 million years ago.

Anticlines and Synclines

The collision produced folded structures in the rocks called “synclines” and “anticlines”. Synclines look like happy faces, while anticlines look like sad faces.

Photograph showing anticline and syncline folds in the rocks along the shoreline of Nova Scotia.


Simplified illustration of anticline and syncline folds.

Folds that look like happy faces have the youngest rocks at the top and are called synclines. Folds that look like sad faces and have the oldest rocks at its core are called anticlines. Some of the synclines and anticlines are several kilometres wide and create "rock circles" on the surface of the landscape.

Bedford, NS Syncline

Enhanced lidar and photograph image of Bedford, Nova Scotia’s large bowl-like syncline.

PHB Lasermap and NSDNR: Bedford aerial.

Lasermap and NSDNR: Bedford aerial.

This image of Bedford taken from an airplane has been enhanced with LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a remote sensing technology that uses millions of beams of lasers to create pictures. It shows a large, bowl-like syncline, viewed from the top down. The alternating layers are gold-bearing quartz and rock. Large landforms like this are much easier to see from the air, and can be found in a number of places throughout the gold districts in Nova Scotia.