The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rock Huntin' By The Old Tracks

A few weeks ago I went fossil hunting around Joggins, Nova Scotia. Last summer I was looking for other sites close to the famous Joggins Fossil Cliffs that could yield interesting fossils.

One of the spots I found last year was not too far south off the 209, on Shulie Road. I parked my car on the side of the road near the small bridge and walked down a path leading to what was left of the old train tracks. If I remember right there used to be a train that carried the coal they mined in the area.

I decided to tackle the cliffs on the south side first. For this I made sure to bring my hard hat. Nothing more worrisome than to feel rocks hit the top of your head. The cliffs are a continuation of what you'd see at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs. Same type of strat layering with your sandstone, shale, mudstone and coal seems. The goal I had set that day was to spot fossilized trees in situ, or as they lay, on the cliff face. The hunt was on.

The pic above shows one of the features in the cliffs that I found very cool. The middle layer that looks like sandstone that dips seems to be an ancient riverbed (I assume anyways).

Nice falls from the recent snow melt.

Another feature I find fascinating with rocks is the flexibility and the way the strata can warp and bend. It doesn't show sediment depositing in that curve-like position, but the actually lithified sedimentary rock strata being bent.

The picture above shows fossilized trees poking out of the cliffs. Surrounding the rhizome (underground stalk part of the plant or tree) are the imprints of root or hair-like roots. You can see two examples in the pic above.

Close-up of the roots.

Tree root fossil Stigmaria

Usually when I go down for a trip at Joggins, Nova Scotia, its to find those famous fossilized trees. Since last summer I was lucky enough to be able to spot close to a dozen different examples. The chances of new specimens being found is high as the cliffs are often battered by strong winds and water erosion from the Fundy tides and strong storms. The last time I had come to this spot I had found one specimen. I couldn't find it, so it must have fell with the loose sediment. I was sad that I couldn't find it, but I wasn't gonna be disappointed. This fossilized tree from the picture above is a new specimen I was extremely happy to find as I have never since it before. From the other trees I had found since last year on my own, this one is big! From where I stood, the diameter of the trunk is minimum 1 feet across. You can see more details on the upper part of the tree.

Another tree that I had found last year lies at the ground level. There's a bit of color on the surface and a layer of 1 to 2 cm separates the fossilized trunk from the rocky sediment. I had found another but it had been partially covered from falling debris.

I intend to come back to this spot sometime this summer and investigate the cliffs further south going towards Cape Chignecto.

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