Dorchester Cape (July 5th, 2018)

On July 5th I went for a drive down Beaumont, in the Memramcook region in South-Eastern New Brunswick (Canada), to check how bad the road along the coast had eroded with time since the last time I went down there rock picking. I stopped in a few places to check on the rocks down the beach wherever I could go down, and spotted the cliffs of Dorchester Cape across the Memramcook river. Hopped in the car and proceeded to make the short few kilometers trek to the other side.

Location of Dorchester Cape on Gooogle Maps
Location indicator shows Dorchester Cape on the map (Google Maps)

Google Earth view of the location of Dorchester Cape
Location of the cliffs

The geology of the area is mostly formed of Upper Carboniferous rocks, and the location I was at is mostly Boss Point formation. The Boss Point formation is also found in Cape Enrage, Rockport, and Upper Joggins, to name a few places. The fossils that I find at the Dorchester Cape site is mostly discombobulate plant material, with dark grey to tan sandstones with some sandy conglomerate boulders lying about. Chunks of gypsum and some Albertite can be seen on the beach, as evaporites abound in the Albert Mines area, and some other unspecified locations in the Memramcook area. Albertite, and then gypsum, were an important part of the local economy, especially in Hillsborough across the river, as the geology of the surrounding area sees large deposits of various evaporites, a relic of the ancient Windsor Sea which would have receeded, giving way to vast forests and rivers.

But what was most important for Dorchester Cape was the copper found in the sedimentary rocks. This copper ore, chalcocite, was discovered in the late 1860s and mined until all operations came to a stop before the First Great War.

Dorchester Copper Mine. K. Vanderwolf. New Brunswick Museum
Dorchester Copper Mine. K. Vanderwolf. New Brunswick Museum.

From Memramcook, I drove down the 106 towards Dorchester. Once in the village, you take the 935, which is Cape Road, heading towards Dorchester Cape. The road turns into a dirt road about 2 clicks after the train tracks. Turn into the dirt road across the Atlantic Industries Limited business site. Make your way down the road, avoiding pot holes and man made roadblocks, and you'll eventually reach the old wharf.

Old wharf by the old gypsum processing plant in Dorchester Cape
Make your way South (left of the wharf) and head towards the cliffs near Cole Point.

View of the point from the old wharf in Dorchester Cape

View of Fort Folly Point slicing Shepody Bay in the Bay of Fundy
Looking back, view of Fort Folly Point slicing Shepody Bay.

As we get closer to the rock cliffs, you can already spot coal and petrified wood on the beach.

Close up of the cliffs in Dorchester Cape

The plant fossils are mostly fragmented, showing signs of turbulence. There's some micro faulting in some places, and large sections of the cliffs are coming down in large segments.

Signs of faulting in the sandstone rocks

Boulders with plant fossils
Plastered with plants/tree parts (hat for scale)

Petrified wood from the beach in Dorchester Cape

The beach is littered with petrified wood, plant fossils, and chunks of coal.

Middle section of petrified wood replaced with orange calcite crystals
Middle section replaced with orange calcite crystals

Large piece of fossilized petrified wood
Some pieces are quite large (dirty hat for scale)

Tree fossils sticking out of rock in Dorchester Cape
Common theme: plants sticking out to catch some Sun

Fossil tree bark impression

Cavity in the rock where trees used to lie in situ
One of the few holes where trees used to lie in situ

Piece of tree fossil

Close up of rock formation

Anticline from the cliffs in Dorchester Cape

Coal seam with hat for scale

The cliffs have coal seams that can reach a few inches thick.

Close up of the previous coal seam

Calamite section laying in situ

Tree imprint with my hand for scale
Tree imprint

Tree cross section in situ in the cliff in Dorchester Cape

Strata at an angle

Different features represented in the sandstone cliff of Dorchester Cape

Large tree trunk sticking out from the sandstone cliff in Dorchester Cape with hat for scale
Nice tree sticking out (squished hat for scale)

Front view of the large fossil tree

Close up side view of the large fossil tree

Multiple fossil tree fragments jutting out from the rocky cliff
Close to the tree

Two deep muddy foot prints in the stick silt of the Bay of Fundy
NOT sand (chances of lithification?)

Disclaimer: In New Brunswick under the 'Heritage Conservation Act', fossils discovered must not be destroyed or removed from sites where they are found without a permit. It is every one's civic duty to report any finds to the New Brunswick Museum ( This encourages the contribution these finds could make to science not just in the province, but on the global stage. You must also seek permission if you are to enter private land.


  1. I enjoy your blog and photos. Here's hoping you have time and inclination to post more

    1. Thanks! Passion has always been there, even if it took a little break. Lots of exciting new things to share!


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