The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

N.S. woman over the moon to join NASA

CBC News
Posted: May 11, 2011 9:15 PM AT

Tiziana Trabucchi is excited about being chosen to work with NASA this summer in Houston.Tiziana Trabucchi is excited about being chosen to work with NASA this summer in Houston. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia woman has been chosen by NASA to help evaluate future landing sites on the moon.

Tiziana Trabucchi, of Truro, is one of 10 people chosen from around the world to spend 10 weeks this summer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Originally from Italy, Trabucchi was a young child when NASA launched its last manned mission to the moon in 1972, but she has developed an excitement for the program and the need to return.

Trabucchi has a master's degree in geology and is working on her PhD in Martian geology at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

"I'm really, really excited about this. I'm really happy," she said Tuesday of being chosen. "I mean, it's something that I wouldn't dream."

Trabucchi said she doesn't really know why she was chosen to take part in the project, except "maybe because I am a little bit eclectic."

"This is not strictly related to my thesis. I'm certain I can learn a lot from this. I will be there for 10 weeks. I think I can use this experience in order to finish my thesis," she said.

Trabucchi said the moon is a "strategic place in terms of energy for the future that we can pick up from there" and other valuable resources.

"We have to go there [to the moon], we have to prove that we are able to do it. If you study the moon, it can help you to also better understand the Earth," she said.

Trabbuchi said she will be excited to be "in the NASA environment and to be with nine different people from all over the world. I like international teamwork."

She heads for Houston at the end of the week.

Original Post: CBC News

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dawson Tour (Joggins Fossil Cliffs)

Hi guys! Got my rock hunting fix last Saturday (May 14th, 2011) when I had the opportunity to join an interpretive guided tour organized by the Joggins Info Center. I told myself that this summer I would take the opportunity to visit as many different sites and take part of as many tours possible.

I did some digging and checked the popular sites in Nova Scotia and Joggins offered the earliest scheduled walking tours. On their guided tours they were offering 3 different walks: Logan (30-45 minutes tour); Lyell (90 minutes to 2 hours); and Dawson (4 hours). I picked the Dawson Tour (55$ incl. tax and museum access at the Info Center) as this would give me the opportunity to maximize my learning experience of the area and its history importance. Hard hats are provided by the Center and so are lunches.

I mentioned to a couple of my friends that I was planning to attend the guided tour offered at Joggins and my buddy Craig offered to come with me. Craig work in the geology field in the past before I met him and I knew that this type of activity would interest him.

We arrived there about two hours before the tour began. We paid the fee for the tour and I was happy to learn that it included the entry fee for their museum, which I wanted my bud to check out. It was nice as they had Hylonomus lyelli, the oldest known reptile - only found in Joggins, on display.

To make it short, it was an awesome experience. Our two tour guides/interpreters were very knowledgeable and fun, the staff at the center very cordial and down to earth, and the tour very informative. The food was good, especially those home made cookies! I was so excited to go that I forgot to drag my camera with me. Here's a picture that my friend Craig took:

Me standing on a big, BIG fossilized tree.

On the walk we saw so many trees in situ in the cliffs, different rock formations, fossil tracks of giant bugs and reptile-eating amphibians, and so much more.

All in all, anybody that loves to learn or even just being out there in the open air should visit the cliffs. The Dawson is recommended for the people who are really interested and are willing to walk 4 hours and dish out 55$. The other walks are more affordable and you can still see a lot of what little secrets Joggins loves to reveal.

More information on the Joggins Info Center Tours: Scheduled Guided Tours


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rock Hunting in Rockport (May 7th 2011)

One site I've been going to since I started rock hunting is Rockport, located between Dorchester and Sackville, New Brunswick. The more I go the more interesting things I find. Slacks Cove is full of places you can stumble upon cool rocks, fossils, or dead animals such as a half eaten seal.. burk!

Reaching Dorchester the road splits between 106 (towards Sackville) and the 935 towards Dorchester Cape. I take the 935 south and drive a few minutes until the paved road turns into a dirt road. A few hundred meters from where the road changed I stop my car and park it on the side of the road where the old road cuts into a new one the government constructed last year.

I've stopped a few times but didn't had the chance to check these red cliffs. I've spotted some fossil plants but very sparse. There's also a lot of big boulder-size conglomerate rocks all over the place, standing out amidst the red silt.

What I had to cross to get to the beach.

The tide at its lowest point. Usually this boulder is under water at high tide.

This is the type of conglomerate that you'll see in Dorchester Cape.

I didn't stay too long as I knew that my time was limited to a few short hours before the tides came up. I hopped in my Rabbit and continued on down the dusty road. As you continue pass Shepody Bay and south on Route 935, you'll reach Johnson's Mills. The road takes a sharp left turn to lead to Upper Rockport. Take the south road.

When you reach Rockport, continue until you reach Slacks Cove (N45 43.564 W64 31.593). The roads at some places get really tricky to navigate, especially when you drive a Volkswagen Rabbit like me.

Getting my arse ready to go rock hunting!

Here's a small vid that I took before climbing down the cliffs. The tide is this time had passed its lowest point. The weather wasn't too bad even with the nasty blue and grey clouds. There was a few rain drops but not enough to melt me. You can hear the stream in the background.

The area I'm trying to focus during this visit is the eastern part of the cove. The further I venture out of the cove east/south-east, the more the cliffs reveal their fossil content. The previous times I came I'd check the cliffs inside the cove, but realized that they're somewhat sheltered, seeing barely any erosive activity. This proved my point when the further I'd walk south, the more the cliffs would reveal to me. Getting there is a bit tricky and dangerous as I'd try to cross a stream with rocks covered in that muddy silt and green slime.

Nice to look at, but dangerous to cross. Slippery when wet!

Loads and loads of plant fossils.

Mudstone, shale, coal, sandstone.

Seems of coal with fossils in the mix. Typical from the cliffs I've seen so far.

Coal attached to rock and...

...coal stuck on a piece of fossil. Some places the lines get mixed and you can barely tell.

Beautiful details from that Calamite specimen.

The tides were getting up to a dangerous so I had to turn and make my way back. I will have to come back to get a closer look at those cliffs, hard hat a must at that too. The site has a lot of potential and it is not surprising: across the Bay of Fundy are the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

Till next time!

Rockport Cemetery By The Sea

Here's a few pics I took last weekend of one of the oldest cemeteries on the East Coast. The cemetary is located near the fossil site in Rockport. Getting there can be quite challenging.

Commemorative plaque recognizing the early settlers of this area from the mid-1700's.


Old stone grinders

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Preping The Study

I've been meaning to update my blog for quite a while, but man I'm hitting at it like there's no tomorrow. This blog just shows ya how much of a dork I am, but real proud one at that!

I live with my two other brothers and the house is big enough that I'm fortunate to have two rooms for myself. The first is my bedroom where I slumber and stack my comic book collection. The other room right beside it is, actually was, my computer room that is now being turned into my study. I took my gaming pc and dumped it in the basement living room, where's its currently collecting dust (It'll get turned on when Star wars The Old Republic goes online this fall hehe).

I didn't have anything decent to display my growing collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils. My friend Tammy and my brother Don got me this awesome desk, complete with drawers and a flat piece of glass on top for display. I took out my old computer desk and put that desk at that same spot. Me happy!

Thar she is, lookin' pretty.

Couple of drawers for stashing my beauties.

Side by side shelves.

Ammonites, shark teeth, other goodies...

Work table I made (was my DJ table, but I shoved it in my closet for a bit). Black desk on the left of the picture is gone. There's so much space now I could get myself a good ol' comfy chair so I have a spot to read without being distracted.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bouctouche Dune Eco Trails .. What's Left

The Bouctouche Dune Eco-Centre got hit pretty bad last Winter due to the freakish storm of the century they had in the region.

Me and my buddy Phil drove from Moncton to Bouctouche to check bad the damage was. What was a 12 kilometer trail was cut down to 800 meters or so. What was also interesting was the sand and rocks that buildup higher, actually reinforcing the dune with new plant growth. At some spots the sand was pushed on the other side of the walkway, dumping in the water at the other side of the dune.

First section of the walkway

Water now under the pathway, sand was pushed on the other side.

Nearing the end of the salvaged walkway. Notice the crippled remains on the right?

That's pretty much it. They fixed up the end of that short walkway. There wasn't any steps going down the sandy beach but we assume that they will add those soon so that people can at least walk on the sand the rest of the way.

The rest of the wooden structure is pretty much looking like this the rest of the way for kilometers on end. Driving towards Bouctouche we had noticed piles of debris on the side of the road with wood beams similar to what the pathways were constructed with. I hope that they'll be able to fix this up. If not this year, hopefully the next.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fossil Huntin' in March... Too Soon?


Fossil hunting in March is damn cold, especially when you spend a few hours at the beach. I've been cooped up for months indoors, doing a lot of reading and studying geology and paleontology, but there's just so much you can take!

I could feel the air changing and I was very anxious to get out there in search of new things to discover. The snow has melted and I knew that there would barely be any ice in the waters of the Bay of Fundy. So I packed up a lunch and hopped in my Rabbit!

Little shortcut leading to the spot I'm heading to in Lower Cove.

Parked my car by the small bridge on Lower Cove Road that crosses over Little River. There's more snow that I thought, but the water is clear of ice! You can see snow close to the cliffs, but as I made my way north along the cliffs, the snow dissipated. With my camera and hard hat, I proceeded down the slippery slope!

I guess I'm not the only one checking these cliffs. =P

Two coats and a toque, check. Cold? Freakin-bawls-on-ice Batman yes!

I'm so used to see these cliffs in their splendor during nicer, sunnier, and warmer days, but they just look incredible covered in ice.

Cliffs in a different light. Icicles are incredible.

Looking at the ice on the cliffs and the snow on the ground I thought that I would have had a hard time to find fossils, but the snow wasn't covering everything and the fresh snow that had fell a few days ago was actually a blessing. The snow would actually help me spot fresh rock falls and save me some time in rummaging through the rubble on the beach. Hard hat on of course.

Every time I come down to this area I always find something different. The diversity of plant fossils that I found that day in the snow was quite astounding. This was the first one I came across and its just gorgeous. This fossil baring the imprint of the bark of a tree belonging to the Lycopsid family, such as Sigillaria and Lepidodendron, or 'snake trees', only showed the tip out of the sand. I cleared some of the sand and found this nice specimen, glaring at me.

A piece of a large tree. I was lucky to have found a couple of pieces of similar sized preserved fossils so close to each other. I also was surprised by the size and color of this particular piece.

Another segment of a tree. Close by there were other fossiliferous debris that bore a lot of vein-like or hair-like roots. I took the time to check for anything that could have caught my eye with my magnifying micro-lens, but couldn't really tell especially with the ice covering it.

Shot of both tree segments. Can you spot the second one near the top of the image amidst the rubble?

This is what I have to deal with half the time I was there poking around the rocks. Kinda hard to make out, but I figure that this could be a leaf, possibly Cordaite, particular to the Carboniferous period (Upper).

I saw black poking out of the snow, and this beautiful piece came out.

One of a half dozen trees I spotted on the cliffs, bathing in the light, begging me to take their picture.

Different angle. Closer look reveals some cool details.

Tree in the cliff.

Time was running short as the tides were slowly making their way back up. Before I left for the road, I decided to check the open mine shaft of an old mine in the old days that was in the area. I like this spot for you can see lots of coal seems popping out of the cliffs, shining with black luster in the sunlight. Its also around this area that I would find the most concentration of trees and plants as they lay in the cliffs.

As I drove back home I wondered how different the landscape would be when I come back sometime in the late spring or early summer. I will have to come back and see how much of a difference and change time has with these amazing cliffs in Joggins, Nova Scotia.