October of 2014 saw a few storms that rocked the coast of Joggins pretty good. In sites like these, the day(s) after a storm is the best day to see if nature revealed more of its secrets. I invited my friend Ray to come down South to Nova Scotia with me for a little trip and boom, on the road with good company!
For people that don't know what or where Joggins is by now (look up my previous posts or just search for it on the 'InTeRnEtS' via a search engine), you'll find out that this UNESCO site plays a crucial part in trying to understand our past, before the domination of giant diapsids, aka dinosaurs. This place touts having discovered some of the (if not the) oldest reptile ever found, which most remains are lodged inside fossil trees which Joggins is reknowned for.
The area that we usually like to walk to is a section along the Joggins Formation, located between Lower Cove and Shulie. The formations North/North East of the targeted section, Boss Point/Lower Cove, are older. The cliffs are set as classic layer position, although tilted for a few kilometers, where the older rock is at the bottom, and topped with younger strata.
There is a nice spot to park near the small bridge in Lower Cove. From there, you make your way down and start heading South. It only takes a few hundred feet before you start encountering the exposed cliff strata.
Calamite within another plant fossil(square on scale=1cm)
Walking a few meters more we noticed this while looking up...
As we saw some of the sandstone slabs and boulders slide down the cliff, or just hang there precariously, we came up upon this slab.
These had wonderful tetrapod tracks running on one side of the slab of sandstone, running from the bottom, and running off on the left side.
These prints are not bad, well preserved, and can easily make out the manus and pes (hands and feet) of the track-making animal. The average height of these prints are between 3 to 4.5 CM, with a width of 4 to 4.5 CM. I have many more photos that offer different angles and exact scale measurements, which I didn't post. And yes I realize that the scale on these 3 pics obscure an actual print. My bad.
Ray playing the role of the human scale
Trying to figure out from which layer this dropped from
Being observers without a permit, we had to leave the tracks untouched where we found them. Unfortunate as these are most probably shattered in pieces, carried by the strong tides. We that, we moved on.
The remainder of our walk is what is considered a typical Joggins walk, seeing trees, roots, plants, and the occasional fern.
Tree cast with coal
Mass of ferns
There might be changes coming and the chance to save these type of fossils could be made a little easier with positive collaboration with invested entities such as the Joggins Fossil Center. In the future, I and others will have to be more careful in capturing relevant data, flagging the specimen(s), record the coordinates, and try to flag someone who has the power to extract said so fossil(s). This way the chances to save something like the trackways found that day from the ravages of time and nature would be more favorable. Time will tell.
Till the next adventure!