View topic - Horton River NWT oddities/mysteries

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 10:16 am 

Joined: February 16th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Strathroy, Ontario Canada
Hi Everyone

While paddling the Horton River last year we came across a few oddities tht I am hoping you can provide some information

1) we saw several trees with a buld formation on the top of the tree and I was wondering what causes this

2) we came across some disc formations at the edge of the river. This disc was perfectly round and possibly appeared that it may have slid down the river bank but I am not sure. Anyone have any idea as to what this is or how it may have been formed?

3) there were also various rocks thaat we discovered. One rock was a round rock with several bumps on it and it was quite heavy for its size (just over 2lbs). The other rock in the same picture is a light colour with some shiny specs and appears it may have been some sort of a sand mixture. The samll rock has some strange patterns to it. The other picture shows a large rock that appears to be a molten conglomerate of some sort and the smaller rock is round and maybe made of sand/mud. It was also quite heavy

4) the forth thing we came across will hiking near the mouth of the river at the Arctic Ocean was a grave site. This fellow died in Feb but I am sure he would have been buried in the spring when the ground would have been softer. The crosss was lying on the ground on top of the mound where the casket would vave beed placed. Seems like a lot of work to transport this person approx 1-1.5 km from the mouth of the river to his final resting location. It would have been a lot of work to transport the casket and then dig the hole to bury the casket. It must have been a special place. oes anyone have any information on this?

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PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 12:23 pm 
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Joined: December 19th, 2006, 8:47 pm
Posts: 8711
Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
Trees sometimes exhibit "witches broom" in response to disease. Black spruce is notable for that.That is an impressive broom.

I have no idea about the discs. Would like to know more.

There may have been no casket used in burial and the cross fell over. It was probably hard to get it firmly based in permafrost. As stuff below the surface decomposed the land may have slumped and the cross fallen over.

PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: December 30th, 2003, 11:36 pm
Posts: 1814
Location: Kitchener Ontario
I'm not a geologist ( been a long time since Geology 101) but your "mud balls" look like a formation of some mineral...maybe Hematite? (iron ore)

Just a guess.

The large "disks" are a nature erosion feature... the river/water has flowed around them to make them round (again, this is just my opinion)

Cool pics. Looks like a great trip!


"The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten." Sigurd Olson, 1956

PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 12:50 pm 
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Joined: January 20th, 2003, 7:00 pm
Posts: 12065
Location: Simcoe County, Ontario
Really cool photos. Thanks for posting them.

Love those disks. Fascinating.

I've seen trees after wind storms/tornadoes that look like that, somewhat, and always think of them as "poodle tops".

The mudballs look like some impressive scat. :lol:

I'm out of bed and I made it to the keyboard....what more do you want?

PostPosted: March 3rd, 2012, 1:30 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 7508
Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
I am curious too.

Some guesses from YoursTruly:

* "mudballs"
I've seen mineral samples like this in the ROM geological section. They seem to be common for certain minerals.

* discs
I also think water is involved. These remind me of floating ice that gets such shape below waterfalls, where they spin for a long time in eddies. I wonder whether slabs of layered rock might be ground along the edges in a similar fashion - when moving downstream with grit and sludge that is also caught in the flow... Maybe it matters if things move in a plane (like being pushed over large plateaus) rather than in a three-dimensional flow environment that creates "sculptures" like in Georgian Bay bedrock.

* tree growth
Origin: a mystery for sure. Purpose: could be a sasquatch ear cleaner. For one hell of a big sasquatch, though...

“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?” - Thoreau

PostPosted: March 4th, 2012, 4:57 pm 

Joined: January 22nd, 2005, 12:16 pm
Posts: 3916
Location: Toronto
Those are "armoured mud balls"; here's a reference: ... d-mud-ball
We saw them too, on our 2000 Horton trip.
I referred to them in my report, which was posted in Routes once upon a time but has since disappeared.
Yes, it was once there, as you can see from Bill King's report in Winter 2008 Nastawgan.
My report has more information on them but I can't find it on any of my home computers.


A literal mind is a little mind. If it's not worth doing to excess, it's not worth doing at all. Good enough isn't.  None are so blind as those who choose not to see. (AJ)

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