Last month (end of June 2013) I tagged along one of Matt's adventures to Norton, in Southern New Brunswick. In a quarry on one of his field work duties a few days earlier, he discovered in a section of the area tiny arthropod tracks. The weather had mentioned rain, heavy at times. Boy they were not kidding. We were granted permission to access and work in the quarry, so we (Matt, his friend Amanda, and myself) took that opportunity to drive down and get down and dirty. We were later joined by a fourth member that day.
Note: To work on/extract fossils in situ (diretly in the cliff/rock face) in New Brunswick requires permission from the province (from Natural Resources, usually in a form of a permit)
Getting there we encountered some heavy rain at times in short periods of time, so it made the terrain at the site quite muddy and tough to walk through. We would have had better access to the target area, but work was done in that spot recently and mounds of muddy soil was pushed right up, blocking the road. If there was anything heavy to lift and carry, it would have to be done through bootsucking mud.
We put our gear onto some plywood sheet to keep some of it dry and out of the way. Out attempt to install some type of tarp for shelter failed, but we didn't want to spend too much time worrying about keeping dry and keep on working.
Layers of track bearing shale
As we worked on peeling away shale layer by layer, we collected samples for study while jutting down all the necessary stratigraphic data for future reference. As the work went on, we realized how significant this area was and how it should be subjected to future study.
Amanda and Matt at work
The tracks that we came upon were numerous and very well detailed. We had set a specific strata as target and trying to get to it by peeling the layers, but it took us longer to get to it when the layers getting there were also bearing tracks.
Diplichnites (arthropod trackways)
We ended up reaching our target layers of rock, and just in time. As soon as we were done, torrential rain started beating on us, leaving us soaked and drenched. We packed our gear as quickly as we could and tailed back home.
Work is ongoing and data is still being collected and processed for further study.
We'll keep you posted. Cheers!