GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 177-14
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


WRAY, Ashley, School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street W, GSB 206, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada, LEE, Rebecca E., School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada and MACLACHLAN, John C., School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada

In Hamilton, Ontario, at the western end of Lake Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment is approximately 100 m high and serves as a major topographic divide that bisects the city from north to south. The northern downtown core, settled roughly 200 years ago, lies near the shoreline of Lake Ontario, whereas areas of more recent urban development are located to the south on relatively flat terrain on top of the escarpment. Development must now be carefully planned to account for erosion occurring at the edge of the escarpment, particularly around road access routes that connect the old and newer areas of Hamilton. With increasing urbanization on the top of the escarpment, and the creation of larger areas characterized by impermeable surfaces, runoff patterns have been greatly altered, discharge to streams has increased, and lag times have decreased. The increased volume of water making its way rapidly over and through the edge of the escarpment provides increased risk of erosion, loss of infrastructure, and danger to residents living on and below the steep escarpment slope.

This poster will present the results of an investigation into the potential effects of the changing Hamilton cityscape on erosion processes and rates along the Niagara Escarpment. Using Landsat Satellite imagery classified into land cover categories, land use changes and expansion of the City of Hamilton is documented over the last 34 years. The change in area over time is calculated for each land cover category and is displayed in a Change Detection Matrix. This matrix is used to calculate the total urban area and to identify where and how rapidly the city is expanding. The findings of this study can be incorporated into planning for future development of infrastructure in Hamilton that minimizes erosion risk along the escarpment.