The rocks that form the Canadian Shield were formed about four billion
years ago during the Archeon Eon of the Precambrian Era. Erosion of
this extremely rugged, mountainous landscape deposited enormous
quantities of clays, silts, sands and gravels into the surrounding
waters. Compressed by their sheer cumulative weight and the heat of the
shifting Earth's crust, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks formed during
the Proterozoic Eon of the Precambrian Era.
More recent rocks that were formed above these ancient layers have since been largely removed by the scouring action of glaciers that covered northern North America in the several ice ages in the past 100,000 years.
The last ice age scraped the rocks in a NNE (north-north-east) to SSE (south-south-east) direction. At the end of the last ice age, all the waters in central Ontario (and the great lakes) drained to the east, toward the St Lawrence River. After the weight of the glaciers left this area, the land slowly began to rise.
As the Niagara escarpment rose, the waters to the west flowed to Lake Huron, and the waters to the east into Lake Ontario. The soil on which trees and other vegetation grow in this part of the continent are the result of gradual sediment buildup since the last ice age.
More history of Hamilton