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redleaf101

Part 2: Sydney Mines, Cape Breton (Short Stop To Wasson Bluff, Parrsboro)

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redleaf101

Continued from Part 1

After taking a moment to try to sum up some courage to go down the cable (stupid fear of heights), we made it down to the beach and proceeded to walk North and around Cranberry Point.

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Cranberry Point

The strata of these cliffs, as of many of the coast in this area, have a small angle, making identification of specific layers traceable for long distances. Coal seams were numerous and shale layers very thick at some spots. Getting closer to the North-East section of the point, we could start seeing Carboniferous flora such as calamites and trees in situ, in their growth positions.

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Calamites in growth position, in situ

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The trees we found in situ were of different conditions, and some of them subject to a future paper. Amongst these big trees were all sorts of foliage of different state. For some reason I didn't take any photos of the ferns we found. Bleh! I'll be posting about another fossil site that has comparable articulated ferns, in Clifton, New Brunswick. What's important to notice is that some of the trees we've inspected showed traces of sooth, a sign of forest fires that would have created victims.

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Matt inspecting the base of a tree (tree root left of Matt)

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Impression on coal residue

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Annularia and/or Asterophylites (extention segments of calamites)

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Matt standing on top of a tree segment. Where did it come from?

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Possibly from this one! How big and tall you think this tree is?

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Tree segments on the beach, possibly from the same specimen

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When we were at the Fossil Center earlier in the day, we had a conversation with the staff. One thing we noticed was the lack of vertebrate fossils, or even trackways. I've read that back in the 1950s that vertebrate fossils had be found, even in trees, and several trackways. Guess the surprise I had when I came upon these!

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Tetrapod trackways!

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After a couple of hours, we wrapped up and picked up our gear. Our next stop on our list is Point Aconi, located a bit North West of Sydney Mines. Some of the best plant fossils came from this area. Folks at the Fossil Center in Sydney Mines occasionally bring people to this place. The coal seams are thick, but care should be taken when approaching the cliffs as shale and mud stone weathers away and leave these big chunks of coal ready to come crashing down.

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Point Aconi

We went down the beach and before turning the corner to reach the point, we came across some fossil trees, matching some of the specimens found at Cranberry Point. We took some data for future reference and carried on.

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There was at one point some very nice plant fossils, but they've pretty much all been smashes to bits. We did find some nice fragments and nice articulated ferns, but not what I was expecting.  I for some reason forgot to take pics of them, which was the purpose of me bringing my snarge camera!

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Coal breaking away from the cliffs

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Looking towards the Atlantic Ocean

After a while we decided to call it quits for the day and head back to Sydney. We met up with one of Matt's friend and had supper in town. We were invited to crash and tent at another of his friend's grandparents house in the area. We arrived at the house and set our tents and had a nice quick chat with Kendra and her folks.

On to Part 3!

Edited by redleaf101

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Auspex

I have long been curious about these sites, and here, with every roll of the mouse wheel, my imagination is outdone by reality!

Thank you!

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redleaf101

hehe anytime. I'll be filling the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia sections with many more posts. Its empty, and I'll be remedying that pretty soon. =P

I'm hoping for a few trips down Prince Edward Island (many new trackways being found), and Newfoundland (hopefully Mistaken Point).

Stay tuned! Excelsior!

- Keenan

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mstimson29

Keenan ... did you have to post a pic of my posterior in the air examining the tree..... lol

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crinoid1

Awesome pics! Those trackways are incredible. Thanks for sharing!

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Missourian

I'm digging the fossils and outcrops of Maritime Canada. .... No pun intended, since I've never been there. :)

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Missourian

Ok, this one got my attention:

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What is that in the gap in the bottom part of the trunk? To my eyes, it resembles thin clastic beds, but surely that can't be the case.

Edited by Missourian

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Auspex

What is that in the gap in the bottom part of the trunk? To my eyes, it resembles thin clastic beds, but surely that can't be the case.

Looks like the fossil was geologically stressed (as evidenced by the other breaks seen above), and the weak spot has been eroded b wave action.

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DeloiVarden

Amazing pictures, but man you where making me nervous standing that close to the cliff. Those rocks above your head don't look too stable.

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redleaf101

Believe me they weren't. This section is eroding like there's no tomorrow, but the treasures are so worth it. Best thing to do is to have a spotter to yell at any sign of trouble, and jump away like a maniac. =P

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redleaf101

Keenan ... did you have to post a pic of my posterior in the air examining the tree..... lol

... .. .. burk.. :blink:

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kwmpiercb

Great stuff. I am a Caper and have been to all these site, although I have not been to Cranberry Point for over 10 yrs. Nice trackways, have never found any myself. Next time you are down this way let me know and I will give you a spot to check along Route 4 where there is a section along the highway with some small shell fossils in limestone matrix. Broken shells display small internal crystals.

This picture is a tree on the other side of the Harbour across from Sydney Mines post-11348-0-71546400-1363276461_thumb.jpg

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redleaf101

Oh NICE! Gorgeous specimens in that picturek wmpiercb! I will certainly contact you when I'm back in that corner. I can't wait to go back!

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mstimson29

Looks like the fossil was geologically stressed (as evidenced by the other breaks seen above), and the weak spot has been eroded b wave action.

The trees are often not uniformly filled. They are progressively filled with sediment which can be of varying compositions. Many trees at Joggins for example are hollowed out for a time allowing animals to occupy the trees before they are infilled with clastic seds. the differential erosion you are seeing at the base of the tree within the cylinder is just that. Mudstones that were deposited within the trees base are eroding out first, the sandstones are more resistant. so you are seeing internal bedding within the tree fill.

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Auspex

The trees are often not uniformly filled. They are progressively filled with sediment which can be of varying compositions. Many trees at Joggins for example are hollowed out for a time allowing animals to occupy the trees before they are infilled with clastic seds. the differential erosion you are seeing at the base of the tree within the cylinder is just that. Mudstones that were deposited within the trees base are eroding out first, the sandstones are more resistant. so you are seeing internal bedding within the tree fill.

This is a very interesting tidbit of taphonomy!

The strata contained by the fossil, rather than the stratum which 'contains' the fossil...

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