Geology and Genealogy in St. David Parish
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Geology & St. David
Geology has played an all-encompassing
role in the history of settlement of St., David Parish. Here are
- THE GREAT FAULT LINE
- If you look at a map of Passamaquoddy
Bay and the St. Croix, it is easy to find a nearly straight line
from offshore through the gap separating Lubec, ME from Campobello
Island, continuing up past Eastport and Deer Island, and continuing
near the US shore and up the St. Croix's estuary, finally reaching
land where Gallop Stream enters Oak Bay at its upper end. The
fault line continues northwards, but becomes less visible to
- See Topographic Map of St. David
here (opens in new
- This fault line, still active,
dates back to the period when the coasts of North Africa and
North America were pulling apart. It formed a line of weakness
that created the original St. Croix River, no doubt long before
the comparatively recent ice ages.
- Incidentally, Spoon Island in
the middle of Oak Bay is rock totally different from the rocks
on either side of it. It dates from the Jurrasic, in the Age
of Dinosaurs, while the rocks to east and west of it are older.
- This fault line remains active,
and earthquakes of considerable size occur along it regularly.
At least one has occurred at the mouth of Pagan Cove in the first
decade of the 20th century. A much larger quacke occurred a little
to the south, in Passamaquoddy Bay 3 Mar. 1904 at 10.04 at Lat.
45.00 67.20 W. mag. 5.9. Several quakes above. 3.7 occurred along
this fault line in the last century.
- HOW SETTLEMENT WAS AFFECTED
- Because of the fault line, the
sea made a long indentation into the land here, up to the top
end of Oak Bay, making that a natural 'jumping off' location
for settlement. Above there the fault line follows GALLOP STREAM
northwards, creating two ridges on either side: the one to the
west is ST. DAVID RIDGE, and the one to the east is now called
TOWER HILL (after settler William Towers).
- The natural route for early
roads, to avoid stream crossings and to reach good farm lands,
was up the ridges, and that is exactly what the two early roads
into St. David Parish did.
- The first and most important
road to St. David Ridge was along the BACK ROAD (used to be called
the BAY WOODS ROAD, locally), and from there along the crest
of the ridge.
- The first and most important
road to Tower Hill became known as the TOWER HILL ROAD, now Highway
755. Feeder roads then left these two 'geology-driven' roadways.
- The ridges provided much of
the better farmlands. They were wide and flat, so wells dug down
found sufficient water. However in the 20th century, the deeper
drilled wells met with more mixed results due to the highly fractured
rock of this parish. (That is due to it being just north of the
line where North Africa banged into North America, like a massive
front end auto collision).
- GOLD IN ST. DAVID PARISH
- Several of the streams in St.
David Parish, including Sawyer Brook, have small amounts of placer
gold in them, 'colours' as one would say. The same goes for the
Waweig River just to the East. This placer gold has been known
for more than a century, but it is not in commercial quantities.
- MORAINES & GRAVEL PITS
- Another aspect of geology affecting
settlement is that the glacial gravel moraines around Oak Bay
proved very useful for construction, and in the 20th century
have been of commercial importance. They do make a hideous eyesore
of devastation, however.