April 29th, 2012
We had an irregular Winter where there was barely any snowfall during the entire season. By the end of March, we had seen the temperatures go up and hit the double digits, even on some days in the low 20s. The road conditions that would usually be impassible due to ice, snow, or mud on any other year were actually good. Some sites became accessible very early, such as the one in Cape Enrage.
We got to the site pretty early. The conditions were great except that this early, the air was still a little nippy, but who's complaining! We brought all the tools we thought we could need and the official paperwork from Dr. Randall Miller of the New Brunswick Museum just in case it was needed.
The plan was to walk all the way to the point on the other side of the beach (furthest East) and start the stratigraphic measurements from there. From that point, we would be able to make our way westward measuring, investigating, and collecting any specimens deemed important enough to haul back on this almost 2 kilometer stretch.
Strata (layers) alternating between sandstone
and mudstone varying in thickness
The beach is in perpetual renewal as the cliffs keep being worked on by the Bay of Fundy, feeding it with loads of fresh talus. Sometimes it would make our work difficult as we would have to 'guestimate' the layout of certain strata and topography on some occasion. The sandstone fragments littered everywhere have had some plants and trackways on some occasion.
Matt resting on layers of sandstone featuring wave ripples.
Notice the dark gray mudstone layer beneath Matt's left boot (his left hehe)
Part of the data collecting in our stratigraphy session is to capture the strike and dip, which refers to the orientation the physical geological feature adopts at its current position. Suffice to say, it basically captured the angle of where it lies. You'd have to factor faults and occasional channels, add them in the mix.
The weather started to warm up. We weren't the only ones peeling our extra layers of clothing, we could hear the cliffs shed some extra weight too. We had to stay vigilant and take turns being spotter for whoever was doing the physical work with the measuring tape.
More of that bio-rich mudstone and silt
When we started the stratigraphy work, Matt took to measuring and I grabbed the note book and started jutting down the info he yelled at me. Why does he keep yelling at me?!? Let me tell you that you learn quick when you actually do hands down field work. I wish that university students would get the same amount of field work that I'd put in in the past few years, they'd come out as winners and quite a few notches on their geo belt.
Inspecting a possible fault
After a while, we realized that we could pick up the pace if we'd switch duties by having me measure while he took the notes. I've learned hands on sedimentology 101 from a few hours of looking at the stratum, and the intricate patterns of deposition.
Trackway bearing sandstone
We wrapped the day of stratigraphy sometime in the afternoon. Walking back, we took a break by some sandstone layers bearing tetrapod trackways that was previously identified the year before. I took the time to to take a few pics.
We capped off the day with a good stratigraphy session. We've been able to map hundreds of meters. We had done great progress, but the following field days would be a little different.
Continued in Part 2