Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Cape, New Brunswick, Canada
July 2003

We took a scenic detour on our way from Halifax, NS to Bar Harbor, Maine to check-out this natural rock formation.

Also known as the "Flower Pot Rocks", it is located at the Hopewell Cape at the Bay of Fundy. Tides have carved these mushroom-shaped columns of sandstone and conglomerate rock with balsam fir and dwarf spruce growing on top. At high tide, the rocks resemble ordinary islands.

Here, visitors will find uniquely shaped reddish cliffs of conglomerate interspersed with sandstone. This conglomerate was formed as rocks and pebbles, washed down from the Caledonia Mountain range (which is over 600 million years old) into the level ground of the valley, were compressed and cemented together over millions of years.

During a period of tectonic activity, these layers of conglomerate, sandstone and shale were uplifted and tilted to a 30-45 angle. Vertical cracks or fissures divided the rock into large blocks.

With the retreat of the Ice Age, a mere 13,000 years ago, this valley (the Bay of Fundy) was filled with the glacial meltwater and the sea level rose. Tides became stronger and began to erode the soft sandstone along the shoreline. The surface water, filtering down through the vertical cracks in the cliffs, eroded from the top, gradually separating these large blocks of rock from the adjoining cliffs.

Today, while walking along the ocean's floor at low tide, visitors can see the evidence of this tilting in the layers of rock in the rock face, the vertical cracks which are the genesis of new formations, and the telltale high tide marks along the cliffs

Most visitors, clambering over clusters of rounded mounds cloaked in rockweed are unaware that these are the burial mounds of age-old formations, toppled by the tide, and slowly disintegrating as the Tides of Fundy continue to sculpt the flowerpots of the future and erase those of the past.

New Brunswick postcard.