The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Dorchester Cape (July 5th, 2018)

On July 5th I went for a drive down Beaumont, in the Memramcook region in South-Eastern New Brunswick (Canada), to check how bad the road along the coast had eroded with time since the last time I went down there rock picking. I stopped in a few places to check on the rocks down the beach wherever I could go down, and spotted the cliffs of Dorchester Cape across the Memramcook river. Hopped in the car and proceeded to make the short few kilometers trek to the other side.

Location indicator shows Dorchester Cape on the map (Google Maps)

Location of the cliffs

The geology of the area is mostly formed of Upper Carboniferous rocks, and the location I was at is mostly Boss Point formation. The Boss Point formation is also found in Cape Enrage, Rockport, and Upper Joggins, to name a few places. The fossils that I find at the Dorchester Cape site is mostly discombobulate plant material, with dark grey to tan sandstones with some sandy conglomerate boulders lying about. Chunks of gypsum and some Albertite can be seen on the beach, as evaporites abound in the Albert Mines area, and some other unspecified locations in the Memramcook area. Albertite, and then gypsum, were an important part of the local economy, especially in Hillsborough across the river, as the geology of the surrounding area sees large deposits of various evaporites, a relic of the ancient Windsor Sea which would have receeded, giving way to vast forests and rivers.

But what was most important for Dorchester Cape was the copper found in the sedimentary rocks. This copper ore, chalcocite, was discovered in the late 1860s and mined until all operations came to a stop before the First Great War.

Dorchester Copper Mine. K. Vanderwolf. New Brunswick Museum.

From Memramcook, I drove down the 106 towards Dorchester. Once in the village, you take the 935, which is Cape Road, heading towards Dorchester Cape. The road turns into a dirt road about 2 clicks after the train tracks. Turn into the dirt road across the Atlantic Industries Limited business site. Make your way down the road, avoiding pot holes and man made roadblocks, and you'll eventually reach the old wharf.

Make your way South (left of the wharf) and head towards the cliffs near Cole Point.

Looking back, view of Fort Folly Point slicing Shepody Bay.

As we get closer to the rock cliffs, you can already spot coal and petrified wood on the beach.

The plant fossils are mostly fragmented, showing signs of turbulence. There's some micro faulting in some places, and large sections of the cliffs are coming down in large segments.

Plastered with plants/tree parts (hat for scale)

The beach is littered with petrified wood, plant fossils, and chunks of coal.

Middle section replaced with orange calcite crystals

Some pieces are quite large (dirty hat for scale)

Common theme: plants sticking out to catch some Sun

One of the few holes where trees used to lie in situ

The cliffs have coal seams that can reach a few inches thick.

Tree imprint

Nice tree sticking out (squished hat for scale)

Close to the tree

NOT sand (chances of lithification?)

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Playing With Power Tools

I'm the type of person that needs to keep busy. Down time such as in Winter causes me to be in a sad and depressive deposition. I've been thinking that picking up a hobby such as carpentry would help me break the monotony and make me use that time to be more productive. In April I went to Home Depot and got myself a whole whack of tools. Miter saws are the bizzneesssss. They're amazing to use (Compound Miter saw that is).

Drills, sanders, circular and jig saws, brad nailer: I went kinda nuts. Got the rest of what I needed and pushed on.

Rough sketching

First things I wanted to do is to maximize the use of my brother's side yard. The area is small, but with a few strategically places planters, we could make use of the empty space. They were my first projects so I didn't really want to spend some dough on material (besides the power tools) if I would somehow have the tendency to f@#$ up. So by using wood from wood pallets, I would be recycling wood and repurposing it for other more practical things, such as planters and raised gardens.

Recycled wood from pallets

First thing on the list was a 3' x 6' raised bed to go along the South/West facing fence. This would be used to plant cucumbers, carrots, and a whole bunch of goodies. The second, smaller planter would be 2' x 2' and would accommodate my tomatoes and some onions.

Side walls for the 3x6 planter

Added the other sides

When I built the first planter, I designed it so that 3 1/2 inches would stick out and anchor down in the ground. That way the weight of the dirt inside the box wouldn't shift the whole thing.

Mom supervising. No pressure!

Stapled the weed barrier and tipped the planter on top of the prepped area. Fitted and aligned the box to the holes and tapped the corners with my hammer to get them leveled.

The second, smaller planter took me less to build. It got easier after the first one. Both were finished sometime last week.

Yesterday was a rainy day and I usually struggle with rainy weather, especially when the barometric pressure is super high. I wanted to keep busy so I went to the shed and spent the day building this little fella.

This 3 tier planter is 30 inches wide and each planter is a little over 6 inches in height (each). I built the whole thing yesterday from scratch. Precut, predrilled, good set of plans. Boom, awesomeness made of recycled wood. I drilled some holes in each planter for drainage and set all three on a frame. Miter saw made angle cuts kids play. So far everything measured up and were perfectly leveled. I found building and constructing things therapeutic.

Brace in the back for added strength

I have a whole lot of things to cross off my to-do list. I'll keep you posted on my new project(s).


- Keenan

Sussex Field Work (January 2015)

Sussex is an interesting region in terms of geology and paleobiology. An amalgamation of different formations crisscrossing the larger Moncton Basin, this area was the target of study by local and foreign interests. Sussex is known for its potash mines, but one shouldn't forget the importance of the rich fossil localities doting the region. One such discovery was probably evidence of Canada's oldest forest, which is of significance.

Matt Stimson, along with other professionals in the field, did some work in the area. I've had the chance to assist on occasion in a few field trips. The work done in this region is still ongoing and soon to be published. This time around we decided to target an area I've never gone or attempted to go yet. I'm used to quarries, but this time we would be spending the day at a road cut.

Me and my braids

Matt getting ready

It was a few days after the Christmas holidays so it was kinda cold. The wind was nippy but we were lucky that ice hadn't formed yet on the ledges and that snow hadn't blanketed the area. The day started kinda grey but by the afternoon, the Sun had come out. It was a welcome event as the wind was freakin' cold.

We made our way to the center cut. Traffic wasn't much of a factor as you can see cars coming from miles away, and plenty of space to park my car off the road.

Area of Research: The rocks here are comprised of several units of interbedding sandstones and mudstones. Within these units, some several meters thick, are shale layers. Within these layers are indications of both plant and aquatic biota. Traces of fish material, scales, teeth, bone, are contained in some of the layers, forming some small limestone lenses and strata. Other areas along the cut feature plants. In all this mix, there are trackways. The work in the area is ongoing so all the data hasn't surfaced yet until publication sees the day.

The cut showed signs of faulting, backed by folding.

This looked promising

We found many invertebrate trackways such as diplichnites and rusophycus. Most were very well preserved, even though exposed to the elements. From traces to scales and teeth, the record showed a high level of activity, condensed. The work goes on.

We reached a spot where we encountered plants. I don't remember if these were referenced or cataloged previously. The preservation was fair, and we were able to find a good number of specimens. The New Brunswick Museum lab will have new specimens to work on by the end of the day.

One of many specimens

Root system

Plant specimen showing shoot/stem and leaves

We've covered only a small portion of the area. Different zones have been targeted for future study. Having done work for the past Summers, I can see why Sussex and its surrounding localities have been visited. The amount of fossils in the around is astounding, especially when talking about trackways.

The work continues...

- Keenan