The Red Lake/Ear Falls District is located on the Canadian Shield which is known for its rugged features, shallow soils and numerous lakes. The geology of the shield of exposed crystalline igneous and metamorphic rocks. The podzolic soils of the Shield are generally thin, acidic and unproductive. These soils are capable of maintaining the tree cover found in the Shield, but tend to lose their nutrients quickly under cultivation, which is why farming has never been a huge business in the north.
The Shield's overlying cover of sedimentary rocks has been generally stripped away by the combined effects of glaciation and post-glacial erosion. The glaciers, in particular, played a huge role in the shaping of the modern landscape; their sheer force not only removed the newer sedimentary rocks, but also gouged the surface, carving out the many thousands of lakes found in the area.The granites of the area are plutonic, formed by cooling lava. In many cases, this cooling took place underwater, which lead to the formation of "greenstones". These greenstones are rich in metals including gold, and contain much of the mineral wealth of Northwestern Ontario.