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Chapter 3: Geologic Structure and Landforms

3.51: The Brandon Hills, Part of an End Moraine South of Brandon

The Brandon Hills—the dark-toned area in the north-centre of the photograph 1—are the western most extension of the Darlingford Moraine that extends eastwards to Pembina Mountain.[i] They represent a period of still stand in the retreat of ice from Manitoba at the end of the last glaciation. The bulk of the hills are composed of west-northwest/east-southeast trending ridges that are best seen in the west 2. These light-toned ridges are grass-covered whereas most of the area is wooded, resulting in dark tones 3. At the eastern end of the hills is a prominent light-toned north/south trending ridge 4 (see figure 3.52).

The sands and gravels that underlie this ridge are exploited in two gravel pits at either end of the ridge 5. Another gravel pit can be seen at the western end of the hills 6. On the distal side (the side away from the ice front) of the hills are several small lakes 7, one of which—Lake Clementi—8 was a favorite destination for day trips from Brandon in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The hills are surrounded by relatively flat land 9, possibly the floor of a small glacial lake. Drainage is to the east, the main waterway being the Little Souris River 10 that can be picked out because of the dark tone of fringing woodland. Another indefinite area of higher land—mainly wooded and therefore dark-toned—exists on the south 11.

Most of the Brandon Hills are covered with woodland, as the topography is too irregular for agriculture, although encroachment by agriculture into the hills has occurred on both north 12 and south 13 sides. On the north this has resulted in soil erosion 14. An anomalous clearing exists in the east 15; local rumour suggests that there was an attempt to build a landing strip for light aircraft.

The wooded hills are surrounded by agricultural land with the checkerboard pattern of the DLS system. Roads follow section lines, but the hills influence their location; PR 340 between Brandon and Wawanesa locally, termed “The Sunshine Highway,” makes four right-angled bends 16 as it passes round the hills to the east. Only one road—the “Hydro Road” 17 that is followed by hydro lines leading south from a thermal power station in Brandon—crosses the hills from north to south. A side road to the east 18 leads to the start of a series of cross-country ski trails. PTH 10 from Brandon (to the north) to Boissevain (to the south) runs along the west side of the area 19.

Figure 3.51: The Brandon Hills, Part of an End Moraine South of Brandon

Figure 3.51: The Brandon Hills, Part of an End Moraine South of Brandon

Figure 3.51

Vertical air photograph: A24519-179

Flight height: 26,200 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 153.22 mm

Date: August 1, 1976

Scale: 1:48,200 (approx.)

Location: Townships 8 and 9; Ranges 18 and 19 WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62G Brandon

1:50,000 62G/12 Wawanesa


[i] For a detailed description of the Brandon Hills see Welsted, J., and Young, H. R. “Geology and origin of the Brandon Hills, southwest Manitoba.” Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, vol. 17, no. 7, 1980, 942-951.