MacIntosh Brook on the Cabot Trail

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Water texture, colour and pattern in a fast flowing mountain streamThe MacIntosh Brook is one of the stopping places along the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada. This clear mountain stream flows rapidly via waterfalls and over stones of many colours as it passes through dense old-growth hardwood forest. The water source is high up in the hills at about 430 metres. It starts in Ordovician-Carboniferous granitic plutons, then passes over Ordovician-Silurian meta-igneous rocks (both rock formations belong to the Aspy Terrane). Finally, in the lower reaches it flows over red Horton Group sand stones and conglomerates from the early Carboniferous Period. The torrents of winter storms and spring snow melt bring rocks of all these types tumbling down the ravines to the stream bed where they ‘colour’ the water and create a rapidly transitioning series of riffles, ripples, and water reflections – a kaleidoscope of impressions.

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