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Geological Notes
The following notes on the geology of Norfolk are from the pen of Dr. John F. Clarke, M.P.P., who has for many years been an active student of nature:

The bed rock belongs to the Devonian system, with occasional but rare out-croppings of the Silurian system beneath, the most prominent being on the 2nd concession of Woodhouse, near the farm of Samuel E. Ryerse; 2nd, near Lynedoch in Charlotteville; 3rd, on the 7th concession of Windham. The formations approach the surface in the following order from above: 

1. The Hamilton group, mostly in Charlotteville and Houghton.

2. The upper Helderburg, or corniferous limestone, very plentiful in Townsend and the north-east part of Windham.

3. The Oriskany sandstone, which, rising to the surface near Windham Centre, may be traced for about three miles north, with a breadth of five miles, when it again disappears beneath the surface.

The western portion of Townsend is very rich in fossils of the corniferous limestone range, and this extends to within a quarter of a mile of the limits of Simcoe, when it again disappears. Beds of gravel are alternated with deep tracts of sand, some of a very light description and easily drifted by the wind, which denuded of the natural covering. This forms a striking feature on the lake shore about two miles from Houghton Centre, where the south-western winds have heaped up the sand to a great height, covering the forest trees and leaving in its course the tops of numerous pine trees dead and denuded of branches and resembling at a distance a forest of spars of vessels stranded on the coast.

The general appearance of the County is rolling and pleasant to the eye of the traveller. Vast forests of beech and maple and white pine were its noble patrimony upon the surface, while in various parts of Charlotteville, Houghton, Middleton and Windham are large and increasing deposits of bog iron of the very finest kind and exceedingly valuable for manufacturing purposes.

As a fruit [producing] county Norfolk is unsurpassed. Grapes, apples, pears, apricots, plums and peaches are grown successfully, while for cerals, roots and meadows its variety of soil renders it admirably adapted. Its numerous spring creeks are well stocked with speckled trout, and its woods with rabbits, hares, partridges and quail. Its marshes are stocked with water fowl, especially those of Turkey Point and Long Point.

The rock formation abounds in fossil remains of a very early age, among which the following may be mentioned:

Astraeospongia, rare, Windham Centre in the Oriskany sandstone; also the Stromatophora Perforata, Tuberculata and Granulate.

(The Doctor here gives a list of over 100 fossils, most of them with names of about seventeen syllables, Latin, Greek and Hybrid, and invented apparently for the confusion and utter demoralization of printers. The reader will excuse their omission.)

From page 55-56 of the Mika re-print of 1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Norfolk County
Copyright 1997-2012 John Cardiff and Norfolk Historical Society

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