Investigating the geomechanics and public safety risks associated with the instability potential of popular geotourist sea stack rock formations

Sea stacks are natural pillars of rock that are usually found on shorelines. They are fascinating formations that are popular destinations for geotourism, including at the Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park, New Brunswick and Flowerpot Island in Fathom Five Marine Park, Ontario. As they experience continuous wave and tidal erosion, sea stacks eventually collapse. Given their popularity, there is an elevated risk of injury or fatality to visitors that is managed by Parks by limiting access to sea stacks that are closer to collapse. This research project aims to improve predictions of when and where sea stacks will collapse by studying the physical properties of the rocks and using computer models to simulate various collapse scenarios. The intern will benefit from the partner organization’s expertise in field data collection using drone-based photography, their knowledge of structural geology that applies to these rock formations, and their local knowledge of the Hopewell Rocks.

Faculty Supervisor:

Jennifer Day


Amanda Hyslop


Terrane Geoscience Inc




Professional, scientific and technical services


Queen's University



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