The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

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.

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