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Found 15 results

  1. What is the reason behind Mt. Baldy sand dune's mysterious holes? By Karen Graham, Digital journal, Jun 27, 2016 http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/what-is-the-reason-behind-mt-baldy-sand-dune-s-mysterious-holes/article/468694 Research continues as Indiana’s Mount Baldy reveals secrets of dune dynamics, Indiana University, June 28, 2016 http://viewpoints.iu.edu/policy-briefings/2016/06/28/research-continues-as-indianas-mount-baldy-reveals-secrets-of-dune-dynamics/ The Paper is: Argyilan, E. P., P. G. Avis, M. P.S. Krekeler, and C. C. Morris, 2015, The origin of collapse features appearing in a migrating parabolic dune along the southern coast of Lake Michigan. Aeolian Research. Volume 19, Part A, pp. 137–149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aeolia.2015.09.008 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1875963715000890 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283579976_The_origin_of_collapse_features_appearing_in_a_migrating_parabolic_dune_along_the_southern_coast_of_Lake_Michigan https://www.journals.elsevier.com/aeolian-research/open-access-articles Argyilan, E. P., M. P.S. Krekeler, P. G. Avis, T. A. Thompson, G. W. Monaghan, and C. C. Morris, 2016, The formation of dune decomposition chimneys in a migrating coastal dune, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. v. 48, no. 5, doi: 10.1130/abs/2016NC-275637 https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2016NC/webprogram/Paper275637.html https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2016NC/webprogram/Session39355.html A similar mechanism involving tree molds trapped Carboniferous vertebrates in the coal forests of Joggins, Nova Scotia. Go see: Dawson, J.W., 1896, Additional report on erect trees containing animal remains in the Coal- Formation of Nova Scotia. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 59, 362-366. Ferguson, L., 1988b. The "fossil cliffs" at Joggins, Nova Scotia: a Canadian case study. Special Papers in Palaeontology. vol. 40, pp. 191-200. Go see Figure 3. Ferguson, L., 1975, The Joggins Section. In I. McK. Harris (editor), Ancient Sediments of Nova Scotia. Guidebook for the 1975 field trip, Eastern Section, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, 111-118 p. or Maritime Sediments. vol. 11, 69. Yours, Paul H.
  2. Another amateur find. The eyes of the untrained fossil collector can still help Science. Cheers to the astute finder. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/joggins-mount-allison-paleontology-fossils-1.3780594
  3. 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
  4. As I promised myself, this has now become a yearly trip for me. As I'm getting ready to head out soon, let's reminisce on a previous trip that happened on one, if not THE hottest day of June of 2014. ..as one comes down from the wave breakers near the wharf of Stonehaven I checked the weather for that day and I knew it was going to be a hot one, but I never anticipated what hot was in this area. I've prepared but soon to find out I could have been more careful. But I digress. Moving on. If you've been keeping tabs on my previous Clifton posts, you'll remember that these layers are mostly perpendicular to each other, almost perfectly horizontal observed in short distances. The Sandstone tends to meet with meandering bodies of water. When you walk, you'll mostly see the rock layers as shown from the pic above, and then bam, you'll get to see this: The lenses show bodies infilled with different clast size, forming sandstone and/or mudstone type filled channels. Here's what I see when I look at the photo above: Close up Water channels that move, in perpetual motion, migrating this way or that. Interesting features as one tends to keep a closer eye for any sign of trackways. The strata in Clifton also contain in situ wonderful tree specimens that rival the ones at Joggins, at least in size. I can't recall if I've encountered one tree in Clifton that had been scared by flames such as in its almost twin in Joggins, but I'll have to make note next trek. When you're lucky enough, you will get shale that can be split without destroying the whole sample. The fragility of some makes it tough to be able to conserve in one piece but it happens from time to time. The details on some of these plants are exquisite. There are a few other places in New Brunswick, such as Minto, where plants have been perserved in similar high contrast. I haven't had the time to delve into naming different members of specific genus or families, but that will come soon enough. This is an interesting fella Calamite, annularia... As the Sun started beating down on me and my water reserve severely depleting, I turned tail and made my way off the beach. These cliffs created a dead zone as no current was passing through and I could feel the full brunt of an almost 40 degree Celcius heat. By the time I had made my way up and recovered, I've realized how close I came to having a heat stroke. Hospitalization would have probably happened. On my way back to Moncton, which was about 3 hours drive back South of the province, the heat had taken its effects on me and luckily my parents lived on the road on the main stretch. I stopped and rested for a while to try to recuperate and gather some semblance of strength and finished my trip. I think it is in the cards to bring at least a partner next time I go. There is a whole lot to do in Clifton and there are many opportunities to explore in this locale. The main thing beside shining a spotlight in this geographical treasure trove, is to have locals made aware of how important this site is for not just New Brunswick, but for the entire scientific community. There is some work being done on some discoveries made in the recent years, but there is vast potential to make more. As long as there is interest, people will keep being drawn to this forgotten shore where once vast forests doted the land, offering life and shelter to its many denizens. The search continues. - Keenan
  5. 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.
  6. From my blog post http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/04/joggins-march-2013.html I had been cooped up for a few months and the last few weeks of winter had been brutal health wise. I thought at one point I was having cabin fever symptoms. A few weekends ago I had taken a nice little drive in the Cape Enraged (New Brunswick) at the end of my bout with a nasty flu. The weather had been a little bit better and the Sun was actually gonna make an apparition for much of the weekend, so there was no way I would stay at home and not partake in a little road trip! I drove South to Joggins for a short road trip. By the time I would get there, low tide would have already started to turn. I hit the beach at about 8:30am and it was a little bit nippy, especially in the shadow of the cliffs. Big chunks of ice were hanging high and melting, causing sediment to fall in big heaps at the foot of the cliffs. I had a few hours of wandering on the beach before it became too dangerous with the Sun bearing down on the ice. The trees that were familiar to me from last year were practically all gone, either buried in sediment, or carried away by the force of the tides. There was a few that had escaped destruction, for the time being anyways. But with all this weathering and grinding of the rocks by Mother Nature, lots of new material surfaced on the beach. New plants, animals, and trackways littered the beach. I didn't stick around too long, but I did take a few pics here and there. Joggins was a little trip to get me going. I'll probably hit the Blomidon area next to see what secrets the beaches have dug up. Cross bedding Calamite Water channel One of the few remaining trees
  7. Taken from blog post http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/07/joggins-nova-scotia-june-2013.html Being on vacation meant being on the road, looking for rocks. That also meant that during that week, I had to make at least one stop at Joggins, in the wet province of Nova Scotia, where the bees shoot flames, and.. ok, lets move on. Here's a few photos of my trek down the beach. Like always, be mindful of the tides. Not knowing when high tide comes in could spell trouble as exit routes are not easily found. So you'd end up stranded for a few hours, so really not recommended to stick around when high time comes around. Sand nodule containing plants The sand nodules that I found on the beach are extremely hard and those I came across contained mostly plants, like the one I found already cracked on the photo above. Some of them were covered with pyrite (fool's gold). Trackways or sediment deformation? Lots of new plants, especially calamites (some whole) A lonely fern Found the other print of the lonely fern Got to the coal mine shaft and was surprised of how much had eroded away in a matter of weeks. Parts of the top of the shaft had collapsed then washed away, leaving a bigger gap. You could smell sulfur, and it smelled like heck! Mine shaft pic taken last year (left) and this Summer (right) View of inside the shaft Stigmaria ('tree' root) Calamites in situ Sigillaria imprint I was surprised that this time around there were not many trees. I've found one partly buried in scree, and another (mostly flame scarred) loose on the beach. There was a lot of material that had come loose, but the tide had managed to carry and spread these all over. This spot is usually hard to resist when talking rock trip. Every time I come down here, I end up seeing an ever changing scenery. If you're ever in the area of Joggins, Nova Scotia, stop by. Its worth it. Cheers! - Keenan
  8. Taken from my blog: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca/2013/04/birch-cove-west-beach.html One of the curatorial walks organized by the Fundy Geological Museum (FGM) took us to Birch Cove/Raven Head (Candidate Wilderness Area), North of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park. Here's a description posted by the FGM about the area: The province wants to designate the area as a Candidate Wilderness Area. But when we got to the site, we encountered something that could jeopardize the efforts to make it happen. I'll elaborate a little later. The other location that we visited after Birch Cove was West Beach, not too far West from the first location. Our first trek didn't take long and we had time a plenty before the tides came back, so we took the opportunity to head over West Beach. Here's the description posted by the FGM on their website for Apple River / West Beach: Both sites are part of the Carboniferous Cumberland Group (Late Carboniferous). This area doesn't show the same type of disturbance experienced further South near Cape Chignecto Provincial Park, which shows signs of faulting and folding. Birch Cove (1), West Beach (2) To get to Birch Cove is to drive West of Parrsboro (easiest way to get there) via Apple River Road or by driving South from Joggins on Shulie Road. Getting there is tricky if you don't have a guide that is already familiar with the area. The roads are dominated by dirt roads used by tractor trailers hauling wood. The roads are extremely bumpy and dusty, making the drive a bit of a drag. We parked the cars in a safe area and started down some semi-wooded trail. When I say semi-wooded, it means that the foliage is only a few feet in thickness on each side. The rest has been clear cut, and the landscape is just a poor sight to see. The province wants to make this area some kind of protected nature reserve, but there's not a whole lot remaining. Sorry sight indeed After a little pause to contemplate the area, we proceeded further down the trail where we got into a wooded area. Walking down the trail to the beach Raccoon tracks We made our way to the beach and it was nice, compared to the sight we saw up the trail just before. Water environments are the dominated feature when looking at the sediments that compose the cliffs in this area. The traces of past ice activity on a major scale is also apparent on the topography of Birch Cove. Sand stone cliffs mixed in with layers of conglomerate, marine sediments, topped by glacial till and raised beaches. Ken Adams (left), Kerr Canning (center), Matt Stimson (right) Warm enough for a swim =P Birch Cove is a nice site. Not a lot of fossils around but nice to see the diverse topography of the locality, which was a major factor in the region's local economy for many years. Several locals within the past two centuries had settled in the area and erected mills, using the water flowing down the Apple River. Kerr, which was part of the expedition, had found several artifacts from the previous century of settlers that had since abandoned the area a long time ago. He showed us remains of some of the settlement in the nearby forest. What remains are several sandstone blocks from various foundations. One of the old foundation After wandering in the forest for a little while, we came out the trails and hopped in our cars to head over to our second destination. West Beach is a few kilometers South-West of Birch Cove. The cliffs in this site have strata that are more familiar of the other sites such as Joggins. Also similar are some of the fossils that we found in this area, especially in the coal-bearing sections. Tree in situ The tree in the picture above shows the base of the tree with two of its 'surface' roots radiating out. Tree roots with root hairs Tetrapod footprint Overall it was a good trip. I had already been in the area before but further South at Spicer's Cove (which I suggest everybody go check!). The drive up and down the rolling hills by itself is worth the trip. One can spend the whole day in that area and come across a very diverse topography. Cheers!
  9. Here's a rare event: the actual legal extraction of a fossil specimen from the UNESCO Joggins Fossil Cliffs, on behalf of St. Mary's University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in December 2011. Only holders of a Heritage Permit provided by the provincial government can work at the site. This post doesn't really describe the whole Joggins site, but only an event that occured. There will be a future post on the entire fossil site at one point in the future Here's how it went... [from my blog: http://redleafz.blogspot.ca] I was invited by my friend Matt to partake in some field work at the Joggins fossil site. He had put in a few weeks ago an application for a Heritage Permit to extract a fossilized tree from the cliffs, still 'in situ'. From the information he gave me, it might be a tree that could be bearing fossilized remains of tiny animals within it. The tree, most likely a lycopsid such as a lepidodendron, would also have some sort of indication that it had been altered by fire. I accepted his invitation and prepared for this little endeavour. Matt had warned me about the cold, so I was prepared to wear triple tuque if need be. I drove down to Joggins, Nova Scotia and arrived a little after sun up. Matt had told me that we'd be joined by colleagues of his and that they'd be setting up scaffoldings on site. On exiting the car I had the pleasure to bump in to Steve (with a v, not ph, hehehe) Hinds, a fellow from Fredericton and Matt's current boss. This gentleman was happy to also take part of this excavation and was merrily on his way to fetch some warm liquid to warm the guys already down by the beach. Brian Hebert (left) and Matt Stimson (right) By the time I made my way to the site, the boys had already setup the scaffoldings. The tree exposed in the cliff rested on a slight angle, about 2 to 3 meters from the ground. The tree specimen lies through multiple layers of strata such as mudstone and sandstone, with the occasional sandstone nodule. The tree also shows its transformation and layered composition, presenting some clues of the type of environment it dwelled in. The dark residue present on the surface and within the tree contains soot, the traces left behind from a fire during the Carboniferous approximately some 315 Ma (million years ago). Many trees found at Joggins showed signs of carbonization. The most interesting and exciting fact about this specimen is that it could contain tiny animal bones. Discoveries have been made in the past, like the discovery of the oldest reptile ever found, Hylonomus Lyelli. This tree and the bones it could contain can help in giving us a better understanding on animal behavior during a change in their present environment, living conditions, and their state of death. What intrigues me personally is how the animal would seek shelter from extreme conditions, such as approaching flames from a ravaging forest fire. I can imagine animals hiding in hollowed out trees, exposed to the harsh and toxic elements. Some animals would die due to this type of exposure. Others would survive but might be eaten by other animals within the tree. There is also the possibility of animals having survived the fire, but were unable to get out. The fire could be simply a snapshot of a single distinct layer within the confine of the tree. At a later stage in the tree's life, sediment could have infiltrated and animals would get in, succumbing due to various circumstances. The trees of the Carboniferous Period were mostly present in thick swamp-like environments, living especially close to water. A river for example could often overflow its banks and deposit sediments, often killing surrounding vegetation. This would bury some trees where an animal could later fall in and unable to make its way back out. This could be one of several scenarios played over millions of years. The toughest part is to figure it out. Our intended target.. DUH Duh duh... It was cold. REALLY freakin cold. The cliffs were full of icicles and the Sun was hiding on the other side, leaving us in the shade. One good thing about the temperature is that it kept the rock hard and solid. This was preferable as it gave us a better chance to try to pull the tree quasi-intact, if at all possible. The warmth of the Sun could have impeded the operation by making the sediment loose and making the cliffs unsafe to work at. Steve and Brian sipping on warm drinks, pondering After the scaffolding was installed, we took the time to inspect the state of the tree and a way to take it out safely. The expectation they had set was that they would have probably had to extract the tree in pieces, but that they would at first try to see if they could preserve it in its entirety, if at all possible. The major problem would be to figure out how to do so. Brian, Steve, and Matt came to the consensus that they could do it by shoving woodem boards directly under the tree, wedging it and creating some sort of support for when it was ready to be dislodged from the cliff. The planks would be sitting across the top boards of the scaffolding, with additonal rocks to create as much of a stable base as possible. When the time would come to pop that baby out, Steve and I would hold the opposite end of the boards and HOPE that it would stay on it or roll to a stop on top of the rigging. Worse comes to worse, we had set black plastic bags on the ground to catch any loose rubble that was part of the tree, ready to collect for in case they had to put the puzzle back together. As the tree was been worked on, our friend Don Reid showed up to lend his support and to make sure we young pups did a good job. Don is a great and important person, especially in these parts. Don is known as the keeper of these cliffs, and his shed behind his home housed many fossil specimens from around the area. It was a pleasure to make his acquaintance. The guys took a moment of rest so that they could plan what to do next. I went with Don to his place to fetch his wheelbarrow for transport. Fossilized tree and negative (print) Matt (left), Brian (center), and Don Reid (right) View from the stairs Freezing icy cold water! Exposed mine shaft between coal horizons (exposed coal seam, left of shaft) Getting ready for the task at hand The tree at this point was almost ready to go. It wouldn't take much to dislodge it from the cliff. At the same time we got some extra help with a visit from professor Andrew MacRae. On to Part 2!
  10. Continued from Part 2 Lycopsid tree with bark (top of tree) One of many eagles we sighted flying over us. The high winds will sometimes push small rodents off the cliffs and result in their untimely deaths. This proves easy pickings for those winged predators. We had a guardian dog at Blue Beach, might as well have some guardian Eagles at Joggins. Those were incredibly BIG birds, over a meter in width easily. Hardscrabble Point (with Brian in the foreground) One of many trees exposed in the cliffs View from the car on our way back By the time we chit chatted with Brian a bit and the time he took off, it was close to 8pm. We stopped at a local restaurant to grab a bite to eat and chit chat with friends. We stayed a bit, enough time for me to enjoy some cinnamon goodness. Oooooh sooo good!! Matt had given Don Reid a call but he wasn't there. We stopped at Gloria's house, Don's daughter, and his car was there. We had a great time at their house. I love coming to Joggins where you'll find some of the friendliest people. Great hospitality! By the time we said our goodbyes, it was close to 11pm and it had started to snow. We took the road and let me say that, visibility was snarge. If it weren't for the wind, visibility would have been just fine, but it was like a blizzard. Good thing my car was still winterized, but there was nothing to worry about for the road were in good condition. Driving on country road was nerve wracking, but the highway proved a bit easier. Still, I didn't dare driving more than 80km/hr as sometimes I had to use the lines on the road as guides. As soon as we hit Moncton, it stopped snowing. All and all, this was an excellent trip. Tired, but oh so very freakin well worth it. I was extremely happy to get this type of road trip done this early in the season. I can't wait for other treks in the following weeks, where weather will even be more favorable. We've done a short list of sites we need to check as soon as possible, so we'll have that to keep us very busy for the next little while. I'll be adding a few more posts, so I'll be getting back in the groove. Till then, cheers!
  11. Alright. This post is wholly dedicated to two seperate trips solely on Joggins. My previous posts in this forum included short trips to the site, but this post is 100% Joggins. This was taken off of 2 seperate posts from my blog back in June and August 2011 - http://redleafz.blogspot.ca. Cheers! June Trek to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs (June 27th, 2011) - Part 1 Last week I went back to the cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia to sniff around and see if I could discovery different finds from my previous ventures. June had been a very wet month, so the chances for the cliffs to be revealing new specimens were high as I'm sure lots of sediment must have eroded. When I left early in the morning it was raining; a light drizzle with a cloud ceiling consisting of multiple different shades of gray, but that didn't damper my spirit as I had heard that the sky would open up sometime during the day. By the time I had reached my destination, the Sun had come out in full force. Reaching the cliffs I could see the rain had done its work. There were heaps of eroded cliff tailing on the ground and new rock falls, showing freshly cracked sandstone. There was a lot of debris and by the end of my walk, a lot of new things to see. The name escapes me, but I'll find out and edit the post. Oyster-type fossils with tiny snails. Same type of fossils, with my thumb for size reference. Close up of a clam/bivalve type fossil. More oyster-like fossils. I found trees that I didn't photograph before. The rain had cleaned the silt and mud, causing these trees to pop out right off the cliff face. Tree with root exposed. I've been coming here for almost 2 years and I had never found any fern-like fossils, until now. There was a new rockfall and some sandstone boulders had cracked open. I was lucky to find several specimens at one location. More ferns. Here's an example of a tree with roots extending out. The tree itself is barely noticeable, except for the outlines on the edges (lines going up and inside above my hat). The the roots (stigmaria) of this lycopsid type tree, on the other hand, are very detailed. You can see bits of other stigmaria sticking out of the rock on the edge (right side) of this photo. Close-up of the roots. Pic showing multiple trees grouped together (showing dense foliage) Fog building up Hardscrabble Point, which at one time saw its innards flying due to some crazy geologists and some sticks of dynamite. =P This last image shows what I came to Joggins that day to look for: trace fossils of Arthropleura. Arthropleura was an ancestor to the modern day centipede and could grow to almost 3 meters (~9 feet) and dominated the floor of Carboniferous coniferous forests. I was happy to have found these trackways. The fact that more than one trackway is showing on the sandstone slab and crossing one another is amazing, but also showing that the forest floor was hosting living organisms. On to Part 2!
  12. Continued from Part 1... June Trek to the Joggins Fossil Cliffs (August 31st, 2011) - Part 2 Hurricane Irene came to the Maritimes as a downgraded tropical storm. Strong winds and lots of rain were forcast but in the end it wasn't as dire as the weather forecasters thought it would be. Knowing that accompanying strong winds and rain, was the inevitable process of extreme erosion due to strong forces. With that in mind, I thought immediately of the cliffs at Joggins. I couldn't go the day after the storm had done its thing, but I had the Wednesday off, a couple of days after the storm had gone through. The tides would have been low extremely early in the morning, so I decided to leave Moncton at around 6 AM. As soon as I arrived to my destination, the Sun was just peaking out to greet me. My favorite spot in the Joggins area to search the cliffs is from Lower Cove Road. I take the path down the little bridge that crosses Little River and walk South towards the cliffs. From the bridge its about 100 meters more or less before you reach the first cliffs. Water receeding as the tide is getting close to its low point. The rain from Irene did a good number on the cliffs. The rain had battered the cliffs and the loose sediment had started to come down. When I walked near the cliffs, I could see huge piles of loose till and mud at their base. The cliffs had also started to show signs where water had run off and where blocks of sandstone of various size had slid down, leaving drag marks on the soft and wet sediment. Stigmaria (tree root fossil) with rootlets spreading vertically outward Cast of a tree with visible features Although some of those trees might have already been exposed, the rain helped make them prop out of the cliff. The tree specimen on the far right is a good sample that could be identified and studied for possible bone fragments within its core. [coin added for proportion, bottom left] [coin added for proportion, bottom left] [coin added for proportion, center] This tree like I mentionned before could yield tiny animal bones. When the conditions are right, small animals would seek refuge in hollowed out trees. Trees in the Carboniferous period weren't the same as the trees we know of today, but were more common to club mosses. Their center were more of a fleshy pit and these would create cavities that animals could use as shelter, as do small animals do today. Dawson thought that, when he first found small animal bones in these trees, that they had fallen to their death or such similar situation, but today the feeling is that it could have been a circumstance of immediate environment (ie. forest fire, suffocating, extreme undesirable environment toxic and deadly to the animal, etc). Calamites Bark possibly from Sigillaria tree The layer of coal can be seen here, showing its shinny underside due to the erosion mostly caused by rain. Littered on the beach were blocks of coal that had broken off from veins similar to this, due to lack of support from the loose sediment that held them in place. Tree section [coin added for proportion] Tree sections, foreground and centered on each side [coin added for proportion] This tree cast is possibly what had held most of the tree segments found littered close to that location. The features that suggest size had been weathered but still offer an idea of its girth (diameter). The roots extending from the bottom of this tree are nice as they offer features in situ that are identifiable. The coin was added for size proportion. [coin added for proportion] Calamites This was an interesting find. Laying on the beach I found what I first thought were chopped wood. At closer inspection, come to find out it was a section of a fossilized tree! The colors kinda threw me off from afar. Picking them up to check their weight, they were definitly heavy to lift. Cheers! - Keenan
  13. [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!
  14. Continuation of Part 1... Anytime now! Getting in position Andrew cautiously watches the event unfold "Ooooooooooooooh!!!" Done! The scaffoldings rocked for a bit when the tree rolled onto the boards and then on the side, but the close to 400 pounds of hard rocky awesomeness stayed put, mostly in one piece! We were able to collect any loose sediments that had dislodged and could be important for future study. We stored any loose ends in sample boxes and proceeded in figuring out how the heck to bring this monster down to ground level! The guys came to the conclusion that, with all the material available, we could somehow lower the tree by bringing it down step by step using the scaffolding metal bars at different heights. This would mean bracing the tree sample somehow on one side while we lowered the boards on the other side to the desired height. How? Wrap the tree in a tarp, sling a rope around it, and hope Brian can brace it and hold it in place while we whack at the boards on the other side to bring it down on the other boards positioned lower. Step 1: Wrap that sucker up Step 2: Place boards in position Step 3: Proceed with generous whacking The first step was to try to see if this feat of engineering would work, which we managed to pull off in the end. After repositioning the boards, the boys proceeded to the final stage. The boards held till the end and the scaffoldings were able to bear the weight. Brian was able to hold the weight of the fossilized tree in place while Steve, Matt, and Andrew moved to get the wheelbarrow in position for transport. With this feat done, would it be possible to carry this as it is in one piece? The tree weighed a lot, easily between 300 to 400 lbs. The question we all had in mind is: will the tire blow on the wheelbarrow? Don is probably wondering the same thing (if the tire blows, Matt has it covered hehe) "Look at that, still in one piece!" Another successful feat! Some of us still had doubt that we could carry it still in one piece as the trek up the stairs would be really difficult. Having done incredibly well thus far, we came to the conclusion that we had to try to carry it and bring it up the stairs. Step by step, we lifted the wheelbarrow up. Matt and myself lifted the wheelbarrow from the bottow as Brian and Steve took the top. Almost done! All the way to the top! The crew was on the beach for about 7 hours. Matt didn't think it could have gone this way, but with lots of positive thinking and smarts, we managed to retrieve in one piece (well mostly). Reg, the fella that lended the scaffolding equipment, graciously helped us bringing the tree to a safe location until they could find a way to get it delivered to Halifax, where it will be studied at St. Mary's University. CT Scan and other methods will be used to collect as much data as they can. At the AGS's (Atlantic Geological Society) 2012 Colloquium in Moncton, Andrew had brought his Mac and showed me the end result of a 3D 360 rendition of a scan they did of a tree similar to the one we had extracted. It was amazing to see all the bones through different depths within the intact tree. Before we parted ways, we ended up at a local joint for supper and to warm up. The lemon meringue pie they served up was worth the whole experience! Till next time. Cheers!
  15. Dear Friends, Free PDF files of publications about the Joggins Fossil can be downloaded from one of Dr. Falcon-Lang's web pages at http://sites.google....me/publications This web page also contains PDF files of papers about fossil wood and forests of other parts of the world. Some of the PDF file, which can be found at the above web page included: Falcon-Lang, H. J., 2003, Response of Late Carboniferous tropical vegetation to transgressive-regressive rhythms, Joggins, Nova Scotia. Journal of the Geological Society, London. vol. 160, no. 4, pp. 643-648. (no. 21 on list) Falcon-Lang, H. J., 2003, Late Carboniferous dryland tropical vegetation in an alluvial plain setting, Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada. PALAIOS. vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 197-211. (no. 20 on list) Falcon-Lang, H. J., and J. H. Calder, 2004, UNESCO World Heritage and the Joggins cliffs of Nova Scotia. Geology Today. vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 140-144. (no. 27 on list) Falcon-Lang, H. J., 2004. Coal, ice and ancient rainforests. Planet Earth, Autumn, pp. 20-21. (no. 28 on list) Falcon-Lang, H. J., 2007. A Cordaixylon axis from well- drained alluvial plain facies in the Lower Pennsylvanian Joggins Formation of Nova Scotia. Atlantic Geology. vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 87-90. (no. 71 on list) Falcon-Lang, H. J., 2009, The earliest history of coal mining and grindstone quarrying at Joggins, Nova Scotia and its implications for the meaning of the place-name “Joggins”. Atlantic Geology 45, pp. 1-21 (no. 85 on list) Another web page is: The Joggins Fossil Cliffs http://jogginsfossilcliffs.net/ Best wishes, Paul H.