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Cape Breton Highlands of Nova Scotia with a Winter Coat of Snow

Northern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia

Credit: Lost Art of Cartography. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel-2 data processed by ESA. Lidar data: GeoNOVA / Province of Nova Scotia

The Cape Breton Highlands are home to the oldest rocks in Nova Scotia. You are looking at the Aspy Fault line and the remnants of a billion-year-old mountain range called the Appalachians. This image is a combination of Sentinel-2 satellite imagery dated , and a hill shading image derived from provincial lidar elevation data. This windswept, snow-covered boreal plateau is surrounded by steep-sided ravines, fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls pouring off escarpments.

The southeastern portions of the Highlands are covered by open peatlands, extensive barrens, lichen-covered bedrock, raised bogs, shallow glacial lakes and various types of shrubland. Long, cold winters and cool summers make this area the coldest, wettest, and harshest climate in Nova Scotia where isolated patches of snow can still be found in July. Nestled in between these two harsh highland regions are the Victoria Lowlands and Aspy River, which drains into Aspy Bay. In May of the European explorer John Cabot made landfall somewhere on the east coast of Canada. It is believed that this part of Northern Cape Breton, home of the Mi'kmaq people, was one of those areas.

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