The red clay cliffs you see located along the east end of Saints Rest Beach have an intriguing story. These cliffs were once the bottom of the ocean during a time when the relative sea level was as much as 80 meters higher than today! Look for glacial outwash (sand and gravel) near the top portion of the cliffs and layers of ancient ocean sediment making up the base of the cliffs. By 15,500 years ago, the front of a tidewater glacier (a glacier where the ice front was up against the ocean) was right here where you are standing! Look closely and you may find shells in the clay from a much colder climate, some of which have been radiocarbon dated as 17,000-16,300 ‘calendar’ years old.

While the greenish-grey rock (volcanic basalt) and the bands of red within (siltstone) are at least 300 million years old, the parallel running scratches in this outcrop occurred much more recently.   With the remnants of the last ice age melting about 13-16,000 years ago, the glacial movement in this area created these grooves.  Of course ice cannot scratch bedrock, but all of the rocks and debris frozen in the 1 to 1.5km thick ice cap over as it slid over this area certainly could, and did!