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Found 18 results

  1. Thanks to my friend @oxford clay keith these very much overlooked track ways will be something I’ll look out for more often. They are from the Lower Oxford Clay (Peterborough Formation) and are only found on Bed10. But sorry Keith I just can’t remember the name of the possible Jurassic marine crustacean that made them. p.s. Also Keith I've narrowed this crushed in shale ammonite down to Kosmoceras ( Lobokosmokeras ) phaeinum ( Buckman ).
  2. Roach, N. T., K. G. Hatala, K. R. Ostrofsky, B. Villmoare, J. S. Reeves, Andrew Du, D. R. Braun, J. W. K. Harris, A. K. Behrensmeyer, and B. G. Richmond, 2016, Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 26374 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep26374 http://www.nature.com/articles/srep26374 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303372868_Pleistocene_footprints_show_intensive_use_of_lake_margin_habitats_by_Homo_erectus_groups https://repository.si.edu/handle/10088/28928 http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27662266 "Supplementary Material for Pleistocene footprints show intensive use of lake margin habitats by Homo erectus groups" at http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/escidoc:2305755/component/escidoc:2305754/Roach_Pleistocene_SciRep_2016_Suppl.pdf Yours, Paul H.
  3. Just something for the group, I was just wondering if any one else would like to see a category dedicated to Trace Fossils? I like looking up info and seeing pictures on different Trace Fossils and find myself opening various topics and really finding what I am looking for. I think it could be something as simple as adding it to the "Collections" section with a category titled "Trace Fossils", and that could include sub-categories for trackways, coprolites, burrows, predation evidence, ripple marks / rain drops, trails, etc., or just lump it all under Trace Fossils. If not in the Collections area, it could be placed in the General Fossil Discussion area with a sub-category similar to Micro- Paleontology. Thanks
  4. Found this slab near Ithaca, New York in the Devonian Hamilton formation. The underside shows a lot of medium sized lines and gouges, which i interpret to be tracks. Am I wrong? Surrounding rocks were not very fossil-rich. Thanks for any help identifying these!
  5. Sussex Field Work (2015)

    Sussex is an interesting region in terms of geology and paleobiology. An amalgamation of different formations crisscrossing the larger Moncton Basin, this area was the target of study by local and foreign interests. Sussex is known for its potash mines, but one shouldn't forget the importance of the rich fossil localities doting the region. One such discovery was probably evidence of Canada's oldest forest, which is of significance. Matt Stimson, along with other professionals in the field, did some work in the area. I've had the chance to assist on occasion in a few field trips. The work done in this region is still ongoing and soon to be published. This time around we decided to target an area I've never gone or attempted to go yet. I'm used to quarries, but this time we would be spending the day at a road cut. Me and my braids Matt getting ready It was a few days after the Christmas holidays so it was kinda cold. The wind was nippy but we were lucky that ice hadn't formed yet on the ledges and that snow hadn't blanketed the area. The day started kinda grey but by the afternoon, the Sun had come out. It was a welcome event as the wind was freakin' cold. We made our way to the center cut. Traffic wasn't much of a factor as you can see cars coming from miles away, and plenty of space to park my car off the road. Area of Research: The rocks here are comprised of several units of interbedding sandstones and mudstones. Within these units, some several meters thick, are shale layers. Within these layers are indications of both plant and aquatic biota. Traces of fish material, scales, teeth, bone, are contained in some of the layers, forming some small limestone lenses and strata. Other areas along the cut feature plants. In all this mix, there are trackways. The work in the area is ongoing so all the data hasn't surfaced yet until publication sees the day. The cut showed signs of faulting, backed by folding. This looked promising We found many invertebrate trackways such as diplichnites and rusophycus. Most were very well preserved, even though exposed to the elements. From traces to scales and teeth, the record showed a high level of activity, condensed. The work goes on. We reached a spot where we encountered plants. I don't remember if these were referenced or cataloged previously. The preservation was fair, and we were able to find a good number of specimens. The New Brunswick Museum lab will have new specimens to work on by the end of the day. One of many specimens Root system Plant specimen showing shoot/stem and leaves We've covered only a small portion of the area. Different zones have been targeted for future study. Having done work for the past Summers, I can see why Sussex and its surrounding localities have been visited. The amount of fossils in the around is astounding, especially when talking about trackways. The work continues... - Keenan
  6. Joggins, Nova Scotia - October 2014

    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 Close up Stigmaria Mass of ferns Tree cast Calamite 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! - Keenan
  7. Tiny Carboniferous Steps by Brian Switek Wired News, September 6, 2012 http://www.wired.com...niferous-steps/ the paper is: Stimson, M., S. G. Lucas, and G. Melanson, 2012, The Smallest Known Tetrapod Footprints: Batrachichnus salamandroides from the Carboniferous of Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada, Ichnos: An International Journal for Plant and Animal Traces, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 127-140. http://www.tandfonli...940.2012.685206 http://www.tandfonli...=gich20#preview Best wishes, Paul H.
  8. Tynemouth Creek (Gardner Creek)

    Taken from my blog post: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/08/tynemouth-creek-gardner-creek.html I've been tallying up a list of new sites I wanted to visit and Tynemouth Creek was on the top of that list. The Tynemouth Creek coastlines, located in Southern New Brunswick between Saint Martins and Saint John, has been the site of newly discovered trackways which had been few before. The formations of this site are about Lower Pennsylvanian (Carboniferous) in age, with the occasional sliver of Pre-Cambrian rock crossing some of the local rock, and Triassic sections further East towards St. Martins. Triassic cliffs at St. Martins Driving there isn't too bad. From Moncton you drive towards Sussex, then head South through St Martins. I took the time to stop in town to check the beach and take a few pics before heading out. I wanted to go down the beach at Giffin Pond but access wasn't easy, so I turned back and made a quick stop at the light house to enjoy the scenery early in the morning. I made it back to St Martins and continued on to Bains Corner, taking a side road South of there to Tynemouth Creek. Same thing here about access. I could have gone down but access wasn't easy to spot. This wasn't also the site I really wanted to check, so I hopped back in my car and headed West towards Gardner Creek. Gardner Creek is kinda split in two where the bridge acts as the divider. The West section has these preserved, unaltered fossils and trackways from the Lower Carboniferous. The East section of these cliffs are more twisted, folder, and faulted, with Carboniferous formation slapped beside Triassic rocks, similarly found further East at St Martins. I chose to walk the East section first. I immediately came upon stigmaria roots and other plant material. The further East I went, the less fossils I would find. Here's a few photos showing folding and faulting. Mini fractures Folding with smaller folds under the contact zone The above pic shows the top strata, or rock layers, at an horizontal position, and the bottom section folded. Exposed fold Fault hidden from view (center), layers changing angle, and folding (far right) West of the bridge at Gardner Creek, heading towards Wallace Beach, the sandstone yielded more fossils and trackways than the previous spot I went to. Most of the layers are not eroding at a fast pace, making the exposed trackways not so well detailed. What's cool about these layers of sandstones are the calamites and other tree-like plants in situ, at a vertical position as they would have been when this place was a forest. The calamites are numerous and concentrated at certain spots. Calamites in growth position Calamites 'stumps' Fern-like plant, very weathered Arthropleura tracks The pic above shows diplichnites, possibly made by a good size arthropleura (a kind of giant millipede). There were reports of some being found in this area and this slab had two sets of these tracks crossing each other. The other set is not as well defined as the other set but you can still make out the direction. Two sets are intersecting at the bottom The site was very interesting and I wished I had stayed longer. Next visit I will have to explore further West towards Wallace Beach/McCoy Head, and attempt to check the cliffs directly at Tynemouth Creek and/or Giffin Pond. That's it! Till next time! - Keenan
  9. Here's the link to the original blog post: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/04/somewhere-in-parrsboro-there-are.html A few days ago I drew a map of the West Bay/Cape Sharp area South-West of the town of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. I had wanted to check the Jurassic age basalt cliffs of Cape Sharp and poke around a bit to see if I could come out with anything. On the cliffs on each side of Cape Sharp are Carboniferous sandstone cliffs which displays a fascinating record of trackways, especially those of tetrapods. I had marked on my makeshift map where the location of a possible access point to the beach would be. If that wasn't the case, I had a plan B, set by driving back towards Parrsboro and finding an access point via Partridge Island. I woke up Sunday (April 14th) morning and it was snowing. I said to myself: "Rain, Snow, or Shine, I'm heading down!". I hit the road at 7am that same morning. The temperature kept at about 0oC Celcius so the road conditions were pretty decent. The snow was melting as soon as it hit the pavement. I had checked the forecast the night before and they had called for higher temperature and a break in late morning. That was good enough for me. I got to the road leading to the supposed beach access by driving a red, muddy, slippery road with my Rabbit. My car is usually gray, but not this morning after my trip down here. I parked the car, got my gear, and headed down the path. Getting down the trail was somewhat annoying. Big trees had fallen at numerous spots and sometimes that meant I had to crawl in the mud or hop on the logs. I'm barely 5'2", so yeah it wasn't a pretty picture. Cape Sharp behind the snowy haze I got to the ledge of the cliff and there was somewhat of a 'trail' going down. It zigzagged a bit but the last 15 feet were just muck and loose sediment. I don't think that if I went down I could get myself back up. I tested the trail halfway and tried going back up. The face of the cliff was so loose and slippery that it took every ounce of strength in me to make it back up. There was no other spots to go down so, defeated, I made my way back up the steep trail. I exerted myself trying to go up that I had to lie down for a few minutes, fighting waves of nausea. During that episode I somehow managed to gash my hand pretty good. Wet, muddy, and bloodied, I sat my sorry in the car and drove to Plan B. West tip of Partridge Island There was no way that this rock trip was gonna be in vain, so I found myself taking the beach road behind the Ottawa House down West Bay Road. Last time I was here was in 2011 so my memory was a little bit hazy. I drove down the sandy road and after dodging or ramming through some major olympic sized pools of water, I managed to park in a safe area. Dirty rabbit! The tides were coming back slowly so I had lots of time to stroll on the beach. Everything was wet so I was curious to see if I could still spot trackways with all the glare. Turns out after a few minutes that I could, and I managed to spot some old tracks and some new ones. The cliffs are put at about Late Carboniferous, and are part of the Cumberland Group - Parrsboro Formation. The layers show an environment alternating between wet and arid, indicated by layers rich in river biota with surrounding vegetation, and the next indicating dryer conditions. Mud crack features The next few photos show a series of trackways and close ups of the ones I managed to spot. Multiple sets of tracks Tracks running horizontal Set of tracks, evenly spaced, with drag mark running along the center Close up of one of the indentation (from the previous photo) No clue at the present of what this is In a section that was protected from the elements, I took the time to take a closer look at some of the rippled surface and found some nice tiny tracks skipping on the surface. Each mes/pes are about ~1cm, running in several directions. Folding where two major faults intersect. The rock is strained and the strate disappears under a thick mix of glacial till, only to reappear a few hundred feet further West. Some trackways to be found, but mostly deformed and barely identifiable. This trip ended up being a very good one. I was able to get to see a few things I haven't seen before, and new data to incorporate in my ever evolving map of the area. Shows that its nice to prepare a litte in advance so that you're not left in a lurch. To finish a good trip in Parrsboro, I had to stop at my friends place, Doug and Jackie's of course! Stayed a while and talked rock. I managed to get out of town with two gorgeous pieces to add to my ever increasing mineral collection. Here's their site: http://www.amethystboutique.com/ On this note, I leave you to your musings. Cheers!
  10. Continued from Part 2... First set of tracks located on the far right of the slab Second set of tracks Close up featuring some tracks from the second set Multiple sets located near the middle of the trackway slab Transition zone showing activity Toolmarks Toolmarks Toolmarks from left edge of trackway slab Side view with top pointing West Rain drops(?) Closeup of smaller set of tracks Backdrop shows cliff that the trackways originated from, possibly from the upper layers (exposed sandstone stratum, or "layer") Working away on the trackway Working on this trackway proved easier than the other set. This was just a question of collecting the pieces and worry about putting it back together later. We identified the tracks that we wanted to recover and managed to chisel carefully sections without any major damage (intentional or unintentional). We made sure to recover any small bits that flaked off by storing them in sample bags so that they could be reassembled with the bigger pieces. After the final piece was removed, we wrapped all the pieces carefully so they wouldn't damage each other and put them in two backpacks for transportation. These bags were heavy, REAL heavy, but we managed to carry them to a short distance from the vehicule. We didn't want to put them in the car before we decided what to do with the other trackway further East where the plaster mold was still drying. After depositing our backpacks at a dry location, we walked back to the first site to see if the cast had dried. We took our putty knives and carefully, inch by inch, lifted the cast off the rock. It had mostly dried up, but still felt damp due possibly by the water from the rock. Final result of cast The cast ended up being good for what we had to work with. The details weren't excellent, but the definitions were there. We had at least something that could be easily carried out in case we would try to retrieve the original trackway, which we ended up doing. We both decided that it would be worth the trouble trying to retrieve that trackway, no matter how difficult. We started to get pressed for time, so we got right to it by chiseling away as much matrix as we could. At one point we noticed that the trackway had cracks in it, accentuated by the plaster that had filled the gaps. The thing ended up in the end cracking and splitting in three pieces. At first we were ticked at what had happened, but thinking on the distance we had to walk to bring the fragments, it was a blessing in the end. Split in smaller fragments, these weighed like hell. We had a dolly to help us carry it, but the terrain was extremely harsh as we had to make our way through a beach lained with boulders. We had to ease the biggest fragment carefully on the dolly and strap in on tightly, but that proved difficult to say the least. What was worse is the fact we had to roll it, or drag, across the beach. At the pace we were going, we would have never made it by sundown. We decided to cut through the seaweed at the high tide line and try our luck on the sand by the water line. After a period of time that seemed like an infinity, we managed to make it to the sand. What looked like sand at most places was actually silt and mud, making the dolly feel like dead weight. We started to feel desperate and the thought of abandonning the fragment on the beach came to mind. I had the idea to drag the dolly where the water ran between the mud and the rocky seaweed. The water usually carries off the sediment and leaves coarser and grainier sand. The gamble paid off as the wheels didn't sink as much. We made our way close to the beach entrance and the car was parked close by. It took almost every ounce of energy we had to drag that piece of rock over a large sandy hump. That done, we took a breather for a minute or two. Tired as we were, we still had two more fragments AND two backpacks full of sandstone to carry out. We were running out of time and out of daylight. We had less than an hour of sunlight and we still had lots to carry to the car. We went back to retrieve the two fragments we had left behind, which were a lot smaller and could be lifter by a single person. By the time were arrived at the car, the Sun was disappearing behind the tree line. Matt dashed out to the site to grab the equipment we had left behind. I took the opportunity to carry some equipment and a backpack filled with sandstone to the car. With all the equipment and samples at the car, the Sun had set and it was dark. We loaded the car with the backpacks and two of the three fragments. The car was already under a lot of weight with what we had already loaded and we didn't want to push it. We made the decision to leave the fragment at the beach entrance, agreeing to come back to retrieve it soon. I told Matt that I was only working in the afternoon, so we could come back the next morning to retrieve it. We agreed and hopped in the car, exhausted but glad it was done. We had been there from a little after 8AM, and left the area around 8:30PM. The next morning I picked up Matt and we head down South towards Cape Enrage. I was sore like there was no tomorrow. We arrived at the beach and loaded the trackway fragment in the back of my car. Matt asked me if we had time to stop by the Cape Enrage Interpretive Centre. We met up with some wonderful people working there. We had great discussions and we showed them some of the work we did in the area. It was great to see the interest they had in the subject and promoting it. The site is beautiful and the work they did was amazing. They still have the cliffs you can repel down, the restaurant and the lighthouse. What's missing is an interpretive center for the local geology and biology, which would be a great asset to the tourism. We left vowing to come again soon, hopefully to work with them on some project, which would be great. I dropped Matt at his house along with the remaining fragment of trackway. He asked me if I found all this hard work worth it. It was all worth it. I've been able to contribute to something like this, it was worth every minute of it. I would do it all again! Now I'm hoping that these trackways can be displayed so that everybody else can enjoy them. Till the next trek. Cheers! - Keenan
  11. Continued from Part 1 More tracks, and these are very nice. The sandstone shows different other textures and features. These dozen footprints or so seem to be indicating that the animal was walking from right to left, and at one point undecidedly turning left. Possible body drag, but I'm not familiar with these yet to fully recognize them. General direction of animal's trajectory Close up Another set of beautifully detailed footprints. These could be seen at a good distance. There's about 16, possibly 17, footprints that can be seen. The sandstone layer on top of it might very well be obscuring additional tracks from the same animal. Set of footprints The picture above showcases about half a dozen footprints. So far I could makeout a four-toed animal, but the impression doesn't always tell the whole story. Some elevated impressions show some footprints with extended features, such as fingers, and some others show what could just be the ball of their feet. The impression here is that the animal might have been walking with its feet directed inward, like a low bodied animal such as a crocodile would, twisting while it walks. General direction and trajectory of animal Closeup of toed footprint The rightmost footprint shows what seems to be 'twisting', when the foot is down in the loose sediment, such as sand, changing direction while lifting it while moving forward (these are my personal observations of course). These are another set of tracks showing details such as fingers, located just above the linear cavity. These two lines of footprints line up, and seem to be showing the animal moving from bottom left to top right. Set of footprints that show some potential 'toe drag'. Some individual prints show the fingerlike features to be extended, as if dragged for a little distance. There were a lot of close-calls and this one was tough to tell if it was or wasn't a trace fossil. There were many that could be, but just was too chard to tell, so we didn't consider as tracks. Can you find the supposed footprint in the above photo? As I was saying before, the folding becomes more drastic the further East, and eventually the layers are set in a different angle than the ones we first encountered where we started our walk. Sometimes you will find deer walking along the beach. I had seen some at Five Islands Provincial Park. Some find ways down by finding a trail, some by falling down. This was the size of a faun, and it wasn't able to find its way back up. I've seen dead seals before, where the head was cleaned off of flesh, but the rest of the body was intact, but my first encounter with a dead deer. Poor young feller. "Cape Split" Our walk back.. This was a wonderful spot, especially if you love looking for tracks. I wasn't disappointed. Some of the pictures of the footprints might be the last time that anyone will see, as the cliffs erode and weather at a very fast pace and the rate of how the cliffs get defaced by the hydroactivity and wind makes it even more unpredictable. But with this type of change can reveal more surprises. Next time I'll remember to bring an extra change of footwear. Cheers! - Keenan
  12. Continued from Part 1 These sandstone cliffs show remarkable details. The right section of the picture above show ripples close together, and the left section show what looks like dried up mud. For me this looks like what could have been a body that had dried up either in a warm and dry climate or a body of water where its water level was getting low. You will sometime find trace fossils on these features, as we did that day. Ken inspecting some trace fossils Fist sized animal foot prints (middle in an 'S' shape) We almost ran by these as we didn't notice them at first. Somebody spotted the tiny holes and then when our eyes adjusted, we could make out the fine toe prints of an animal that left its mark, strutting its stuff in the mud (line running in middle, showing as black dots). Close up of trace fossils showing as black dots, and a fist size impression in the mud (lower right) Better close up of individual track(s) Pair of foot prints in mudstone Ken is pointing to a set of fossils that are going from bottom right close to where he is pointing his stick to the upper left. It was extremely hard to make them out at this angle, and the camera didn't help with picking up the details. I will have to probably invest in a camera that has a good zoom and deep macro depth. Another angle (again hard to spot) Foot print? Another set of foot prints located at top left Multiple set of footprints More footprints (can you spot them?) Ken had found these bizarre indentations beside what to be an animal dragging its body or part of its body. What was intriguing was that these indentations were on both sides of the drag mark and in equal distance on each side (top of Ken's head, on both sides of drag mark). Below Ken's hand is a fist sized foot print probably made by the same animal. Another set of indentations close to the edge One theory is that an animal was moving in a shallow body of water, dragging its body on the sand, possibly paddling with its front legs and digging its hind legs in the sandy floor to move forward. I imagine an animal that could have longer rear legs, using them to propel itself forward casually in the water. It doesn't answer why there is another set of indentations by itself but the sandstone slab is cut off, creating more questions than answers. These rock formations show signs of extreme force, showing beautiful folding of strata that show like an accordion. Multiple 'S' patterns showing the direction of the fold. Limestone containing shells The crows and seagulls were getting agitated and pretty vocal at one point and somebody pointed out to a tall tree on top of the cliffs. Perched on that tree was this handsome bald eagle looking around. I had seen one earlier in a park about 10 minutes drive out of Parrsboro going towards Moncton, but I didn't have the chance to take a picture of it. There are quite a few type of eagles in the area from what I'm told. Eagle taking off Usually when I come to Parrsboro and find trace fossils, they're usually of the Triassic age from the early dinosaurs and reptiles like ancient crocodiles. What is nice about these sandstone cliffs is that they are from the Pennsylvanian (lower) Carboniferous Period, at about 320 to 280 million years (probably closer to 300 to 280 million years). The sheer number of them is intriguing and exciting. I've seen these before at the Brule museum in Tetamagouche, Nova Scotia, at the Cremerie. Next time I come here I'll have to venture to Partridge Island and see if I can find anything. Till next time!
  13. [Taken from my blog July 2011 - http://redleafz.blogspot.ca] This afternoon I was able to attend another curatorial walk organized by the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM)about the geological features of Partridge Island, which is about a 15 minutes drive from Parrsboro. We left the FGM at about 1pm and arrived at the beach not long after. The tides were just starting to get low so Ken Adams (the interpretor and FGM's curator) took the time to explain the various geological puzzle pieces that make up this area. With our group was a woman that took video and audio of this tour to include in a bid to have the Bay of Fundy recognized as one of the world's new wonders of the world (currently the only Canadian site in the contest, #14 if I recall). Here's a short description of the curatorial tour from the FGM website: The rocks of East Bay-Partridge Island present a cross section through Parrsboro's geologic past. They tell of the warm tropical seas, shallow lakes and coal swamps that existed during the formation of Pangea, and the desert sands and volcanic flows deposited at the beginning of the age of dinosaurs. - FGM Curatorial Walks Partridge Island located south of Parrsboro, Nova Scotia As I mentioned before, its about a 15 minutes drive from Parrsboro to Partridge Island's beach access. Down Whitehall Road you'll see the Ottawa House. There's a small dirt road called Partridge Island Road. Its a little tricky when you end up driving on the land that attaches the island to the mainland. Most of the time, you could call Partridge Island a 'presqu’île', or peninsula, which is a piece of land bordered by water on 3 sides, but with one remaining side connected to the mainland. I say this as even at high tide, the island is still showing attached to the mainland. Its only at high tide with its peak reached at the highest point of a lunar cycle that the island becomes a true island. Cape Sharp (middle) and Cape Split (left, in the distance) Partridge Island at high tide This place is just fantastic. It was cooler by the beach compared to being in town. We could hear the calls of the loon, and other local birds cowering, looking for the whereabouts of the bald eagles nesting in the cliffs. Close up of Cape Split Ken (left), Matt (middle) and Scott (right) Partridge Island Looking at the island you can make out two types of formations. You have your reddish Triassic age sedimentary rock that's slightly tilted, and the darker volcanic basalt (same as what you'd see at Five Island Park) which overlaps the Triassic rock. The volcanic rock shows columnar features as well as layering of multiple lava flows on top of each other. We didn't go to the island but I will at another time to look around for fossils and minerals. Lava flows Bryzoa The lines, or striation, on this outcrop were created when ancient glaciers were moving, scaring the rock and leaving these marks. You can tell the direction the glaciers were moving (growing or retreating). With striation and glacial till, this provides some evidence that glaciers made their way further down the northern hemisphere (possibly almost a few longitudinal degrees of the equator during the Precambrian). Close up of perpendicular striation Partridge Island (left) and Cape Blomidon (right) View of Partridge Island from East Bay These layers, or strata, of sandstone contain quite an amount of fossils, mostly clams. These cliffs show layers over layers of sedimentary sands and mud featuring mud cracks and ripples. As you'll see further in this article, we'll encounter some animal footprints (probably from early amphibian animals as these rocks date from anywhere between 320 to 280 millions years ago). Some rock outcrops we encountered along our walk showed the forces at work in the region as various faults show up, demonstrating how the continents were moving. Clams in mud stone and shale On to Part 2!
  14. [Taken from my blog August 2011: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca] I've been looking for this little trip for quite a long time, since last year actually. When I was doing some digging up about important geological sites related to fossils, and Diligent River was on top of my list. The area has be known to have a good record of trace fossils (ichnofossils) of animals that roam the area in the Carboniferous Period (between 320 and 280 million years ago) when this was a wet swampy forest. The other reason for me to go fossil hunting in that spot is ferns.. ferns ferns ferns. I was gonna go on my own at one point but I'm happy that the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM) had organized a curatorial walk of Ram's Head in Diligent River. Here's an exerpt from their website: The rocks of Ram’s Head-West Bay tell of the warm tropical coal swamps, rivers and shallow lakes that existed during the formation of Pangea before the beginning of the age of dinosaurs. This area has some of the most spectacular exposures of amphibian track ways to be found in the Parrsboro area. - FGM Curatorial Walks Diligent River is about a 15 min drive from Parrsboro, on Route 209 heading West. The most straight forward way to get there avoiding as much dirt road along the way is by driving down Ramshead River Road in Diligent River. You drive South until you come up to a 90 degree bend. Continue on the narrow dirt road until you reach the wharf. I arrived in Parrsboro at about noon, but the tour was only starting at 1:30pm, so after my turkey sandwich at the Gloosecap Family Restaurant, I had a bit of time to myself. So I decided to swing by Two Islands real quick for a little walk before heading back to the FGM. When I went down the trail and hopped on the beach close to Wasson Bluff, it felt a little bit chilly. The fog hadn't fully lifted yet. I proceeded East instead of West as I had never walked in that direction before. "Two Brothers" I walked for about 20 minutes and before I knew it, it was time to turn back. The cliffs from the trail I took to get down to the beach to this point showed clay and glacial till being eroded. I saw some layers of sandstone under all that loose sediment. I'm told that if I'd walk a bit further, I would have have started to notice the cliffs changing to basalt. Walking back and up that trail made me built a sweat. I was happy to sit in my car for the next few minutes. I drove back to the FGM and we gathered our tiny group to head out to Ram's Head. The group consisted of myself, Ken Adams with his family, Andrew from the FGM, and a couple from New York. **Important** Bring a change of footwear. You have to cross a shallow body of water to get to the cliffs. I didn't but I didn't mind getting my feet wet. The drive home though was a bit tad uncomfortable, so I will bring my Teva sandals next time (I SHOULD have them in the trunk of my car all the time). These are cliffs that are located close by South-East before crossing the dune and hiting the beach. The cliffs along the beach are similar to these. Trace fossils and other plant material have been found in these cliffs recently. I'll have to come back and check them out. Ken and Andrew headed towards Ramshead Point I turned this pic upside down as the original fossil points down. This is one of many ferns found in the shale along the beach. Fossil Tracks (direction: heading left) Set of fossil tracks, or ichnofossil(s), found early on our walk. The afternoon Sun was nice as it helped project shadows at angles where it was easier to distinguish forms on the sedimentary cliffs. Good indicators for possible tracks? Sandstone featuring ripple marks or growth, such as ferns (from what kept coming up with most of the tracks we spotted). Another set of tracks Unusual cliff feature (of glacial origin?) Not all tracks or physical profile was made by animals. There are for example holes with U-shaped features around it. I suppose that could be objects, such as plants, causing sediment to accumulate on one side. The picture above shows what was once a tree, possibly from the lychopsid family, standing at an upright position. The strata was turned and resting in its current angle due to tectonic activity and the pushing and tugging caused by continental drifting. This was a time when the supercontinent Pangaea was being pulled apart. It had formed during the Paleozoic Era, when paleocontinents collided together to form this giant mass. These cliffs were layed down over millions of years during the Carboniferous (Lower?). Pangaea was then pulled apart during the Mesozoic ("Age of the Dinosaurs"), creating other supercontinents such as Laurentia and Gondwana, creating the chain of events that would lead to the modern shapes the continents have today. The further you walk East, the more you see folding. The folding is more apparent further when you get close to Ramshead Point and the stratum takes on a different angle. Tracks? Fern The ferns found in the shale are beautiful and very detailed, but the sedimentary rock is very brittle. Slip(?) On to Part 2!
  15. Continued from Part 1 Part 2 is the culmination of our efforts and attempt to extract the chosen trackways on the following Sunday, that also saw us go back the morning after. We had planned on the to do's and hows' for the day, but as I quickly found out, you basically make decisions on the go once you're there. We also made sure to bring all the equipment needed for our field trip, including some plaster to create a cast if we're unable to extract the trackways. We arrived on site very early in the morning. Matt had thought that we would probably be done sometime in the afternoon, but that the nature of field work can throw curve balls. We were greeted by friends of the person that owned the land where the beach access was. We told them the purpose of our visit and gave them basic information on the importance of the finds made on this beach. They seemed genuinely interested on the trackway we had found. We happily invited them to check us out later in the day at the work site to check these trackways up close. We didn't hold them up for too long as the tides were gonna reach their peak real soon. Knowing that the tides would be high and that we could be stuck for a couple hours, we had the choice of going out for lunch, or head out to the work site and work through the high tide so that we could be done early. Matt had told me that we were expected at the Cape Enrage Interpretation Center by the staff if we wanted to head over there for lunch and meet the staff. Matt had done some work and research for them in the past. They knew that we were in the area and might probably drop by the work site to say hello. The work we were gonna do would be the attempt to extract two trackways. One of them would require breaking it into segments for ease of transportation due to the size. The other trackway would be trickier. The plan would be to rotate the block that had the trackway into an horizontal position so that we could create a plaster cast. The cast would be a 'plan b' if we did attempt to extract the trackway. If anything would happened to the integrity of the trackway, making the recovery impossible, we would at least have the cast. Right from the start we knew that the trackway, which we would need to be cast in plaster first, would be the most challenging and time consuming. That would be our first task. As we got to our location and set ourselves for work, the tide had fully come in. As we were stuck there trapped by the tide, we decided to get right to it. The first thing we had to do is to get the block that the trackway was on leveled. We took our tools and cleared some of the loose rubble away so that we could get some leeway to be able to twist and turn to a favorable position. Once that was done, we chiseled away some of the excess off the block to make sure it wouldn't move while we applied the plaster on the surface. Matt getting ready to move the block That chunk of sandstone was heavier than we anticipated. We managed to rotate and set it into a somewhat flat, leveled position. While we were taking a breather, we took some putty out and made the borders that would hold the liquid plaster to form the mold. While we were working away with the putty, we received some visitors. The people we had met when we first arrived came to check on our progress. Matt had great fun talking with our youngest guest Liam about animals and fossils. Matt and our new friend Liam Preparing the plaster mix! The pouring Let the drying begin! After the plaster was poured and strengthning material applied (cloth to help solidify the mold), we picked up our tools and headed back West to the other site. We were hoping that by the time we are done extracting the other trackway, the plaster cast should be dry. The Sun was at its peak so this should help speeding up the drying process. Second trackway site As pictured in the above diagram, most of the visible tracks are located on one section (East). The plan to retrieve these tracks were to take them off in pieces. Matt had reassured me that it would be easy to put back together, just like a jigsaw puzzle (I saw these tracks a few days later and he did a great job putting them back together). The following photographs show shots from right to left (East to West) to give you a general idea of the surface. On to Part 3!
  16. A while back I had posted that I had partaken in a field trip in Southern New Brunswick. Me and my buddy Craig had planned to go on a trip to Parrsboro (Friday, September 9th 2011). That morning I had received an email from my friend Matt about going on a field trip in the Cape Enrage area to investigate the cliffs over there. If we decided to go, I would have the chance to meet Dr. Randall Miller, the current curator of the New Brunswick Museum. We agreed to modify our plans and contacted Matt. After picking up Matt and some morning grub, we proceeded South towards Fundy. Our destination was a beach in the Cape Enrage area. To get there we had to drive down a short dirt road off the main road, not too far from the Cape Enrage Interpretation Center. I'm not gonna give the exact location as the site itself has yet to be checked thoroughly, and the old man that lives close by on this dirt road isn't too fond of strangers from what I'm told. Driving up to the beach we saw Dr. Miller's car already parked. We stepped out of the car, got some basic gear with us and proceeded down the beach to meet up with him. Craig inspecting the cliff up close This location has some of the most beautiful sandstone formations I've yet seen so far in this area. The sandstone color and grain doesn't match the type you'd see at Cape Enrage. These cliffs are Carboniferous in age. There's a fault not far West of our location. Rather than the typical grayish, granular, and coarse sandstone of Cape Enrage (Boss Point Group), you get these red, fine to very fine sandstone. Walking South-East along the beach the sandstone eventually changes to the familiar, quartz-like sandstone. The cliffs from what I can understand, are part of the Mabou Group: the Maringouin formation (reddish sandstone, similar to Johnson's Mills in Dorchester Cape), and Shepody formation (the greyish, coarser grain). If you'd continue further East, the sandstone would get coarser and take a greyer tint, and some pink, with quartzite). You'd run into the Enrage formation, and then Carboniferous Boss Point Group formations, at the tip of Cape Enrage. This information can also not be that accurate. The geological survey of the province, especially in these parts, wasn't probably done to the expected degree. It could be that the formations don't necessarily reside in those exact demarcations as we speak. The age of some of the rocks could possibly vary from previous assessments, but I'm no professional geologist so I couldn't tell ya! Matt (left) and Dr. Miller (right) observing sandstone featuring ripple marks The purpose of this trip is to see if we could locate ichnofossils, fossil trackways left by animals a long time ago. In Nova Scotia, trackways are found in many areas. In New Brunswick, its a different story. At best, the province has recorded less then a dozen trackways in a period of 150 years. If there were more, they just weren't reported, or identified as trackways to the untrained eye. The chance to find trackways to add to the short list would be a great addition, and knowing that I would have contributed in their find would be icing on the cake. It didn't take long before we came upon our first set of tracks. The sandstone slab had broken apart from a bigger layer at a height of at least 15 meters, slid down the cliff and rested belly up, exposing multiple trackways and other features. Two sets of tracks, split at the bottom (coin, also for proportion) The sandstone slab, if I remember, measured about 4 meters (12 feet) in width, and approximately 5 feet in length. The slab also has a convex shape (bulging outward). The right side, viewing if if you're pointing North, shows several trackways, running somewhat perpendicular from each other, crossing path at the South end. Other tracks show up as less detailed the further you look left (westward). Reaching the top of the bulge, tool marks appear, running across the slab at a vertical angle. The tool marks were probably made by material, such as tree branches, dragging at the bottom of the channel. The surface that shows the tracks are also peppered with tiny water droplet features. The figure above shows animals walking along a body of water, leaving tracks in the sand or mud. The plane then dips down to reveal the direction of the current, dragging material which scrapped the bottom along the way. The picture that I can conjure is an animal or several animals (manus/pes of different scale, direction) is of activity. Probably the best place to find animal activity is near a body of water, like the one we found. This was pretty cool indeed to catch animal movement in a setting, enjoying a stroll by the water. These weren't the only trackways we were destined to find that day. The next find came up not too far from that first sandstone slab. on the cliff face were sets of very well elevated tetrapod tracks. From what Matt told me, they were part of a big set that basically crumbled away. The surface also shows weathering patterns caused possibly by water action (ie. rain). Later that day we came up to some broken pieces of sandstone that had rolled down the cliff. The others noticed a piece of sandstone a few couple feet in diameter at an angle, displaying some linear feature. Upon closer inspection, this zigzag of a line was what seemed to be a tail drag! Matt inspecting the newly found trackway This trackway measuring almost 4 feet across, snaked the surface of the sandstone block. The tracks themselves weren't obvious from the get go, but the tail drag was a clear indication that this was made by a small animal a few inches long. The track displays the animal changing direction at one point. The chance to have found such a trackway was extremely exciting. We cleaned the rubble around it and inspected other sandstone fragments in the close vicinity for other tracks. After a few minutes we made a mental note of where this track was located and proceeded further East in search of more. Strata coming together Water channel At this point in our walk we noticed the sedimentary rock change color. Cape Enrage is located a few kilometers East, and this type of sandstone is what you'd find over there. We had walked into a different formation. We decided to turn around and head back. Walking back we looked around for sandstone bearing similar surface features as the last trackway we had found that afternoon. We had found tracks of various sizes easily detectable to the eye from a distance. While we did find some nice trackways, we were also keeping an eye out for trackways that we would usually have passed over if not for inspecting up close the sandstone littering the beach. This is the result of paying attention to minor details. Dr. Miller and Matt had come across a block where the surface showed small, very faint lines running parallel to each other. Hermit crabs, to my knowledge, don't leave trackways of this type. At this stage nobody in our group could positively identify these diminutive tracks. They agreed that the best thing they could do, given the size of the block, is to try to extract it from the beach. **IMPORTANT** Extracting trackways or fossils, important such as these ones, are legal only if you have a permit to do so by the Province of New Brunswick. Luck today, we had Dr. Miller who is the sole authority in the province when it comes to these issuing these permits. Legalities aside, we endeavored to skim off the excess matrix from the sandstone block to make it easier to carry. Inspecting the favorable spots to chisel Chiseling away the excess 'fat' On our walk back we stopped at the last trackway we came across to take detailed pictures. Given the size of the chunk of sandstone the trackway was laying on, extraction would at this point seem quasi-impossible. Geologists are part human, part spider monkey After taking notes of the finds today, came the dilemma of what to do with these. We all talked about how these tracks would be nice additions to the scientific community. The more we discussed it, the more we came to the realization that we had to try to extract these bigger trackways off the beach for research and record. Dr. Miller wouldn't be available as he had to leave for Norway on conferences. I suggested to Matt that we could come in two days and try to extract at least one set of trackway, and create a plaster cast of the other. We all agreed that this was very important and that me and Matt would come back on Sunday for a little bit of field work. With the papers to make our job easier, we agreed to come back and try to remove these suckers, in the name of science of course. =) That's it for Part 1 of this excursion. That day was the preliminary expedition to search and find worthy specimens and we were in great luck. Now the tough job was to try and extract if possible, or at least cast them if extraction deemed to troublesome. I mentioned to Matt that this was an amazing opportunity to be able to partake in professional field work. The other thing is that I would also be schooled on the basics of field work and sedimentology, both subjects I wanted to learn more. We agreed on time and location for Sunday and make the necessary preparations. On to Part 2!
  17. Continued from Part 1 Other things we would find on the beach beside trackways are actual parts of the animals such as scales, teeth, and bones. Slab containing various bone fragments More bone fragments, scales This piece of sandstone shows an interesting feature. The recess shows a 'U' shape obstruction. This could have contributed by a change in water movement. This could be interpreted, possibly, as water movement such as a tide, and not simply as wave action. That's what comes to mind so far. Same thing I said before, I'll leave that to actual experts. More arthropod trackways Marks made by some type of pine cone (lycopsids are distant ancestors of conifers) Possible feeding trace (Cruziana - center), with resting trace (Rusophycus - top) This old dog hung out with us pretty much the whole trek. You could hear him cough once in a while and chewing some shale rocks. He stayed a little distance from us but never too far away. A couple passing by asked if the dog was friendly, which we replied he was. He didn't mind the attention. When it was time for us to turn back, we whistled to the dog and he followed us back up the beach. That day we had had our personal Blue Beach bodyguard. =P One section of the beach had a stratum, or layer, that extended from the cliffs to the bay. This layer of sedimentary rock had rounded cavities randomly spread across it. These cavities indicated the location of trees that would have had been growing. The traces of this ancient forest came in various sizes, from a couple centimeters to about a foot in diameter. More arthropod trackways (bottom right, close to hammer) I'd say when we were done, it was probably close to 1pm when we got back to the car. We put our equipment in the trunk and headed to Windsor to gas up and for a bite to eat. We drove a little bit downtown until we found a fast food joint, ate a quick meal, and proceeded back on the 101 South towards Halifax. I'm not gonna say much about my GPS Navigation device called 'Maggie the Nagging B@#$%', but lets just say that at one point it was better to watch the signage than to refer to its reference on the maps. Hopping back on the 102, we made our way North pass Truro and then jumped on the 104 towards Amherst. We did one site and in the Cumberland area, the tide had peaked at around 1pm. It was about 3:30pm when we got close to Amherst. It was still early in the afternoon, so we decided to take a left and head to Joggins. Might as well get as much rock hunting done in a day, right? Dawson 1868a, p. 179 We made our way towards Lower Cove, a little ways North of Joggins. I parked the car close to the bridge that passes over Little River. Not long after we set foot on the beach and made it a few hundred meters heading North, my buddy Matt got a text on his phone from our friend Brian Hebert that lives in the area. We could see him run in our direction. He recognized my car that was parked at the bridge. I came to Joggins about 2 weeks before and the beach was very hazardous with all the flying rocks and harsh winds. The weathering of the cliffs since then was pretty extensive, as some of the trees and plants I had noticed then were pretty much covered in piles of loose sediment. I will make a post of that short trip very soon. We found some similar type of trace fossils at Joggins that we found earlier at Blue Beach across the bay. At this location, plant material was more prominent, at least visually. Horseshoe Crabs trace fossils Ferns (I rarely find any when I come to the cliffs) Ferns up close Old mine shaft from the old coal mines (turn of the 20th century) Branching Stigmaria (tree roots - lycopsids) with rootlets On to Part 3!
  18. [taken from my blog: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca] Rock Hunting All Over Nova Scotia's Fundy Coast (April 2012) It's early in the year to go rock hunting, but the weather had been favorable for the past few days. I had the idea of going for a road trip in Nova Scotia to check a few sites. My friend Matt Stimson was interested to tag along and was in Halifax for the weekend. I had offered to go pick him up in town and from there we could plan what sites to visit. The weather for that day (Saturday April 7th, 2012) had changed and they were predicting heavy snow falls late in the evening. We weren't sure if we still wanted to go, but in the end we couldn't pass on the opportunity to go rock hunting! Site #1 - Blue Beach, Hantsport Site #2 - Joggins The tide for that day wasn't favorable to us unless I left Moncton extremely early Saturday morning. The first stop we had agreed on was Blue Beach in Hantsport, and low tide was set at about 8:30am. To be able to have enough time to be on the beach, I would have to pick up Matt in Halifax around that time. It takes pretty much 2 hours and 30 minutes from Moncton to Halifax, and about 30 minutes to reach Hantsport from Halifax. I woke up at 4:30am and couldn't fall back to sleep, so I got myself ready and was on the road by 5am. At that point I was running on 4 hours of sleep! I was just too excited to hit the beach. By the time I hit Truro, Nova Scotia it was sunny and only a few clouds dotted the sky. I arrived in Halifax a little before 8am. We got his stuff in the car and did a few pit stops before heading North on the 101 for Windsor. The plan was to check Blue Beach, stick around for a bit and then go for a bite in the area during high tide. From there, we'd then track back and drive back towards Cumberland county and check the Joggins fossil cliffs. Entrance to Blue Beach We arrived at Blue Beach at around 10am. High tide was gonna peak at around 2pm, so we still had some time to hit the beach. I parked the car, got the backpacks out, and proceeded down the trail. We wanted to check the makeshift museum but the owner wasn't around. I'll will be definitely coming back sometime during the Summer to come check it out. Matt Blue Beach (North) If there was any doubts about the weather, they were gone at this point. The sky was blue and there weren't many clouds. The temperature was surprisingly comfortable, probably around 10oCelcius. On our walk we were joined by a black dog, making his way down the beach alongside us rock hounds, occasionally looking at us and wagging its tail. He looked like an old fella, and had a strange habit of eat the loose shale that lay on the beach. It was an interesting companion to say the least. We reached our first serious looking outcrop and checked the shale and sandstone littered close to these cliffs. It didn't take long for us to find some interesting features on some of them. Diplichnites, or representing an arthropod in movement, or 'walking' The first features we found were a series of tiny trackways, shown in the picture above as two lines or series of dots parallel to each other. These trackways, usually called diplichnites, are 'usually' associated with an arthropod called a trilobite, but not necessarily true in this case. The culprit in this case could have been another arthropod that lived at the same period in the Carboniferous as the trilobite, such as a horseshoe crab, which interestingly still perseveres to this day. Tracing the trackways to the left, you come up with this... Resting trace, Rusophycus, or the actual animal? The image above shows either the resting trace of the animal, called Rusophycus, that made these tracks, or the remains of the animal itself. The couldn't identify the animal at the moment, but does show signs of a 'carapace' or shell. Possible culprit, the Horseshoe Crab! This was just the first sample of many types of invertebrate trackways found that day on the beach. The diagram below helps to illustrate the different positions and tracks an arthropod can leave based on its movement, behavior, or position. Adapted from the Treatise of Invertebrate Paleontology, Part W. Trace Fossils (Revised) Note to Self: I need to get my hands on either a portable ruler or something to gauge proportions for comparison when I take pictures with my camera. Reference is key! Cliff where the tracks possibly came from Amongst the loose shale and blocks of sandstone on the beach were some that sported some features like this one, pictured above. The round depressions, or pits, were more than likely rain drops, but what's interesting here is the strange 'S' shaped feature that runs vertically in this photo. This could have been a fish dragging its tail on the bottom of the water body it lived in. The water level was ever changing, and there are many clues on the beach that indicate likewise. Worm burrows Slab that shows various arthropod behaviors such as resting, feeding, and walking Invertebrates, such as arthropods, weren't the only ones leaving their mark on the beach. We came upon a few sets of trackways made by vertebrate animals such as tetrapods, ancient amphibians that dominated the period around 300 Ma (million years ago). Multiple arthropod trackways, running vertically What could the various tracks of those small arthropods that we found littered on the beach indicate as the environment they lived in, or what type of behavior would they have adopted? An interpretation of it could be that these animals would leave the safety of water for various reasons, such as mating, or even nesting. Question is what type of environment would they have lived in? What could cause the water levels to have been reach all sorts of levels (not counting tidal activity). That I will leave to the experts to wrap their brains around. Cliffs where the previous set of trackways possibly originated from Possible parts of a ribcage On to Part 2!
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