Every year the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM) hosts curatorial walks of the many sites located in the Parrsboro area in Nova Scotia. Saturday June 11th the FGM organized a curatorial walk of the Wasson Bluff located a few minutes east of Parrsboro, on Two Islands Road. I had gone only once before last Summer. I was happy to go back as I wanted to find out all the information I could get from Wasson Bluff.
Wasson Bluff is a very special place, as the earliest dinosaurs have been discovered in this area. This area has seen the smallest dinosaur foot prints ever found, some of Canada's oldest dinosaurs ever found, and important signs and clues of the ever changing landscape and makeup of the Earth.
The curatorial walks are free, and that weekend being tourism week, the admittance to the Fundy Geological Museum exhibit was also free. Me and my friend Craig, along with some other fellas had some time to spare before the walk, so we checked it out. It is well worth it as they have a lot of interactive games and displays, and wonderful specimens on display.
By the time we were done the museum, there was still about an hour left before the tour, so we asked for directions on local eats. The friendly staff helped us by pointing out local restaurants not too far in town. We opted for one that was at the end of a street next to the museum on Pier road. The tiny restaurant, the Harbour View, was a home cooking style seafood restaurant and it didn't disappoint. The food was great and the service was good.
View of the bay from the restaurant.
Wasson Bluff is located further west of the FGM on Two Islands road. It takes a little bit less than 15 minutes. Here's a few pics from the walk:
Getting ready for the hike. My friend Craig on the left.
The welcome sign at the Wasson Bluff entrance.
Hopping down the steep trail.
Easier down than up as I would learn coming back up.
Finally on the beach!
View of Clarke Head. The tip of the cliff is darker basalt/volcanic rock. The gray/greenish-like part of the cliffs is gypsum/salt-like sediments, remains of bodies of water that vanished a long time ago. From there to where I was standing were the different faults and strata that make up the general landscape of this part of Wasson Bluff.
Ken Adams, our interpreter, and also the FGM's curator.
(Two Islands in the background)
Close to the beach entrance you'd get these strata of sandstone and mudstone. These look similar to the carboniferous strata you'd encounter at beaches like Joggins. The sandstone show animal tracks and natural weathering.
Ichnofossils (animal tracks) made by ancient animals.
Cliff made up of volcanic rock.
Sedimentary mud filled with clastic basalt rocks and bone fragments.
Clastic basalt fragments in sedimentary silt, signs of the work of continents moving apart.
Bone fragment in sedimentary matrix.
The picture above seem to show sedimentary mud that would have squeezed in fractures of this volcanic rock, creating the look that we're seeing here. If I remember right, magma would have solidified (could have been underwater), and at a later period silt like mud would have made its way, filling any cavity it could propagate into. The green algae show the level of the tides.
Bone fragment in Triassic age rock.
In the background you have your greyish volcanic rock. In the foreground you have a mix of wind blown reddish sandstone to other types found in aquatic environment. This is the start of what they call Wasson Bluff, famous site of the many dinosaur bones, some deemed at least the oldest in Canada. The sandstone that bear the multitude of bone fragments are usually the ones that show clastic basalt, as they usually indicate some type of aquatic environment, like watering holes. From what I can remember this would have been a valley where animals would make their way. Several events happened to have retained the animals where they are, to later be unearthed by scientists. Such remains are displayed at the FGM for people to view.
The Triassic rock shows cavities where animal specimens had been found and unearthed. The cliff face changes all the time, so there is always a chance to find something.
What I found fascinating is that we have this type of site in our own backyard, at our doorstep. There is always that awe factor where you're thinking, some of the oldest animals have walked where you have walked. The features you can find in the earth, the traces of animals long gone, the pieces of a puzzle that help define the history of not just the locality, but the global picture of how things were at one point in time.
I have enjoyed Parrsboro and I'm convinced that anybody that goes there would enjoy it.