The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Geo Field Work (Cape Enrage 2012) - Part 5

Continued from Part 4

July 7th, 2012

Final trek to the area. With the stratigraphy of the fossil locality done, we could concentrate on some of the finds we had made earlier in the season. Most of the important trackways that could be transported was already hauled out. Others that couldn't be removed were well documented via a plethora of photos. We had made an attempt to create a plaster cast, but the 90 degree angle just made it impossible with what we had to work with.

Cleaning the surface

The block that had the trackways was still intact, but semi-covered with loose rubble. We had placed a piece of plastic on top of it, so it didn't get damaged since our last visit. We removed the cover and started to clear the rubble.

Once that was done, we proceeded in making the block smaller so that we could have an easier time handling it while chiseling it. Shedding a few hundred pounds of weight would be ideal, for, you know, not being crushed and becoming fossils ourselves.

After chiseling some matrix off of the main block, we were able to lift and turn it into a more desirable position so that we could whack at it into an acceptable size. While the chiseling was going on, we had to keep an eye out for falling debris and any loose boulders that might have given us an unexpected visit. Heads are softer than rocks from what I heard.

And there you have it! Matt made great work on this large slab of sandstone and trackways are ready to go. Sorry to say that the tracks couldn't be carried out that day as we didn't have any means to haul it back to town. My rabbit can only take so much, right?

Matt was able to get in contact with some of his friends and they hauled the trackways at a later date. Mission accomplished (I think).

I just wanted to say that this type of work can be hard, REAL hard, but worth it. I've learned a whole lot by doing hands on field work, applying techniques and learning along the way. It just proves that you can do a lot if you put your brain into the right mindset. This proved to be essential for future field trips taken after Cape Enrage, being able to apply this new acquired skill set. I thank Matt for bringing me along and being his gopher and to have been give the opportunity to learn how to get dirty.

Cape Enrage is one of many sites in the Maritimes that needs to be explored. I don't get why some people today still impede on people that try to do the right thing and bring these type of treasures to light and acquire new data that can be shared with the rest of the world. Still baffles me.

Till next time. Cheers!

- Keenan

Geo Field Work (Cape Enrage 2012) - Part 4

Continued from Part 3

June 9th, 2012

We came back with the idea that this would be the last stretch we'd have to do when it came to our stratigraphy work. We had done most of the 1.7 kilometer stretch and we were nearing the end by a few hundred of meters. Before resuming our work, we went down to the set of tracks that we had covered the previous visit to protect it, and it was still intact. We would decide what to do once the stratigraphy of the area is completed.

The weather was kinda odd. It was pretty much all over the spectrum. One moment it was wet, pouring rain like there was no tomorrow, the next we'd have nice sunny breaks. Clouds were moving at a very fast pace and in some instance the sky went pitch dark for a while.

Worm burrows

Last stretch

Mud cracks

Trees (trunk depressions)

Looking for tracks. Some were found here last year

The above picture is very interesting. On the surface you can see multiple tracks made by invertebrates. You can see burrowing, walking, and feeding traces. There's even some resting traces. The maximum width of these traces are about 1 centimeter. Some other traces barely register at 1 millimeter. The following slides are of closeups of these invertebrate traces.

Many sandstone layers showed various deposition patterns: 
mostly wave ripples, laminated, and trough cross bedding

Microbial mats

Weather was being temperamental at this point

Large mud cracks

Possible fault

Done! Stratigraphy done! Done done done! Let me tell you, measuring 1.7 kilometers of beach with a tape line was tedious work. I felt pain and soreness in muscles I didn't know I had. Happy to have done it as with this data, it will give a detailed picture of this area that has become very important.

We didn't have the time to work on the set of trackways that we had found earlier, so we decided afterwards that we'd come back and make a retrieval attempt at some point in the future.

On to the finale, Part 5!

Geo Field Work (Cape Enrage 2012) - Part 3

Continued from Part 2

May 26th, 2012

We picked off from where we left from earlier that month. I was a little bit concerned about the weather conditions but by the time we got there, they improved enough so that it wouldn't make me miserable and wet. We had previously hauled some trackways from the site, and there was a good chance that we would stumble on more as we had only closely combed half the beach.

We got to the location where we had stopped on the last field trip. From there we inspected a set of trackways that turned up to look like diplichnites.

A single set of tracks that run vertically with two parallel rows of dotted depressions. So far these are the only set of tracks of that type I've seen on site this year.

In between breaks of doing stratigraphic work, we kept stumbling on various sorts of trackways and interesting topographic features as the day went by. Even without a shining bright Sun, we still managed to spot trackways bordering the micro scale such as burrows, invertebrate tracks, microbial mats, etc. I won't even attempt to name or categorize as I'm just not familiar enough with these to identify them. With time I endeavor in improving my identification skills, focusing on the Carboniferous.



Dropping by to check on and old friend

Possible fault

Some of the trackways that were found on the beach probably came from strata located at high altitude. Some of the sandstone blocks with trackways that we had come across matched with some of the sandstone layers sometimes located not to far from where these were found. We have to factor in the tidal force of the Fundy tides as they could also have come from other areas. So this could make our work a little bit more difficult.

Looking for something aaaaaaaand.........

...he found it!

This is one of the rare plants that we found in this typical type of strata. The gray material is rich in plant biomass, but the red sandstone, not so much.

Another fault, movement, slip?

Stratigraphy on the fly

Nearing the end of our field work day, we saved the best for last. We came upon a slab of sandstone that we had identified as being detached from a larger block near the top of the cliff. This block featured some wave ripples, but also sporting something more interesting: trackways!

This slab had some sets of tracks that ran along the slab. The depressions could be seen at a fair distance even in poor lighting conditions. We had to clear some of the loose debris to be able to have an idea of the size of the tracks.

We estimated that the block of sandstone that the tracks were setting on was quite thick. Remembering the set of tracks we had dealt last year, we realized the amount of work we would have to do if we decided to save these from certain destruction.

It was getting late, so we left some sort of identification near the trackways, covered them from protection against the elements and fallen debris, and made our way back to the car. We still had a final stretch of beach to do. We decided to think on it and figure it all out next time we would come back.

On to Part 4

Geo Field Work (Cape Enrage 2012) - Part 2

Continued from Part 1

May 5th, 2012

On this second field trip, we got down to the nitty gritty. We had set a target distance to measure that day. But that wouldn't be the case, as we'd meet delay after delay that would eventually eat away at our schedule. BUT that was quite alright, as you'll soon find out.

Alternating layers (strata) of sandstone, mudstone, silt

The area that we'd come to measure that day had more water channels and alternating strata than the previous section we had already worked on. The evidence of a more active paleoenvironment is present in this section.

The faults found in the topography of the area is more numerous that the official maps led to believe. We were able to tally and identify some features to be faults, and others still to be studied and verified.

Sediment deformation

The above pic shows layers of mudstone with sandstone nodules/concretions layered within the thicker mudstone strata. I've seen beading before in sandstone being deformed, so I'm not sure if this is beading or soft sediment deformation on some level.

How thick are these layers?

Here's great ol' me for perspective


We had made very good progress in our stratigraphy work but things started slowing down when we started dropping on trackways. We knew that we still had a long stretch of beach to work, yet this temporary respite was pretty much welcomed (from my part anyways).

Tetrapod tracks (in situ)

First block extracted that day

Second block (American quarter for comparison)


Third block

Fourth block

We wrapped up by hauling down the blocks of trackways and noting the last measuring point. We wished that we had done more of that stratigraphy work, but finding those trackways made up for that. As it has become a custom with each visit in the area, we showed our finds to the locals and gave them some information on the work we had done that day, and they days ahead.

At this point in the end of the second field trip, we were about halfway of being done. There was still a whole lot of work to be done.

Continued in Part 3