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Found 4 results

  1. Snowy Cape Enrage (Cap Enragé)

    From my blog: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/04/cape-enrage-in-february.html In February I got hit by a bad bug, a flu that knocked my on the floor for a week. Being sick for a few days had sapped a lot of energy and it was driving me nuts. The forecast had called for a sunny and warmer weekend, so I told myself that I had to make an attempt to get out of the house and get some fresh air. That Saturday did indeed turn out to be a sunny and warmer one, so I hopped in my Volkswagen Rabbit and decided to go for a drive South towards Alma. I drove down Riverside-Albert and decided to head towards Cape Enrage. The roads were somewhat in fair conditions when I reached the Cape Enrage road. It was plowed to a certain section and then abruptly stops after the 90 degree bend close to Waterside Beach where I had spent quite some time doing stratigraphy. The road were snow covered but barely an inch in thickness, BUT what could have made my trip short was the steep hill I had to drive up to get to my destination. There was a whole whack of tracks of many failed attempts to get up the hill, but I was confident my bunny was able to do it. After a few kicks and the car traction kicking in a few times, I was able to make it to the top! I drove a few hundred meters then turned around and chose a parking spot. I was proud that my car made it to the top, but I didn't want to risk driving down the hill on the other side where the snow was thicker and more packed. There was a single set of tire tracks from what looked like a 4x4 vehicle, with spots along the road where it apparently struggled to make it up. From the car it took me about 30 minutes to get to the beach. The only sound I heard was the wind, the snapping of branches, and the crunching of snow with each step I took. All around me were fresh animals tracks of all sorts: foxes, mice, rabbits, birds, all criss-crossing the road. Bunny! (or Hare) By the time I reached the beach, I was sweating and feeling it. The Sun was beating on me and I was still not feeling 100%, but I was glad to have made it this far. I walked down the beach and towards the East cliff section. I strolled about at the foot of the cliff to see if there was anything that had come loose but surprisingly, nothing. Nothing had really changed since last fall, and that was a little disappointing. But the matter of fact is, I was happy to have come here and recharge my batteries. I had never seen this area under snow and it was very nice, very serene, with only the waves and the wind for sound. I'll be back in the area soon but on the other side West of here to find any changes in the local topography. Who knows, there might be more trackways waiting to be found.
  2. 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!
  3. 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
  4. 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!
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