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redleaf101

Joggins Fossil Cliffs (A Comprehensive Multi Trek Visit) Part 2

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redleaf101

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.

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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.

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Water receeding as the tide is getting close to its low point.

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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.

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Stigmaria (tree root fossil) with rootlets spreading vertically outward

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Cast of a tree with visible features

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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.

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[coin added for proportion, bottom left]

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[coin added for proportion, bottom left]

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[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).

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Calamites

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Bark possibly from Sigillaria tree

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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.

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Tree section [coin added for proportion]

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Tree sections, foreground and centered on each side [coin added for proportion]

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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.

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[coin added for proportion]

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Calamites

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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

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redleaf101

I forgot to add this post. This was way earlier where there was still snow and ice. I just couldn't wait! That was back in March 2011. Enjoy

Fossil Huntin' in March... Too Soon?

Brrrrrrr!!!

Fossil hunting in March is snarge cold, especially when you spend a few hours at the beach. I've been cooped up for months indoors, doing a lot of reading and studying geology and paleontology, but there's just so much you can take!

I could feel the air changing and I was very anxious to get out there in search of new things to discover. The snow has melted and I knew that there would barely be any ice in the waters of the Bay of Fundy. So I packed up a lunch and hopped in my Rabbit!

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Little shortcut leading to the spot I'm heading to in Lower Cove.

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Parked my car by the small bridge on Lower Cove Road that crosses over Little River. There's more snow that I thought, but the water is clear of ice! You can see snow close to the cliffs, but as I made my way north along the cliffs, the snow dissipated. With my camera and hard hat, I proceeded down the slippery slope!

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I guess I'm not the only one checking these cliffs. =P

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Two coats and a toque, check. Cold? Freakin-bawls-on-ice Batman yes!

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I'm so used to see these cliffs in their splendor during nicer, sunnier, and warmer days, but they just look incredible covered in ice.

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Cliffs in a different light. Icicles are incredible.

Looking at the ice on the cliffs and the snow on the ground I thought that I would have had a hard time to find fossils, but the snow wasn't covering everything and the fresh snow that had fell a few days ago was actually a blessing. The snow would actually help me spot fresh rock falls and save me some time in rummaging through the rubble on the beach. Hard hat on of course.

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Every time I come down to this area I always find something different. The diversity of plant fossils that I found that day in the snow was quite astounding. This was the first one I came across and its just gorgeous. This fossil baring the imprint of the bark of a tree belonging to the Lycopsid family, such as Sigillaria and Lepidodendron, or 'snake trees', only showed the tip out of the sand. I cleared some of the sand and found this nice specimen, glaring at me.

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A piece of a large tree. I was lucky to have found a couple of pieces of similar sized preserved fossils so close to each other. I also was surprised by the size and color of this particular piece.

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Another segment of a tree. Close by there were other fossiliferous debris that bore a lot of vein-like or hair-like roots. I took the time to check for anything that could have caught my eye with my magnifying micro-lens, but couldn't really tell especially with the ice covering it.

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Shot of both tree segments. Can you spot the second one near the top of the image amidst the rubble?

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This is what I have to deal with half the time I was there poking around the rocks. Kinda hard to make out, but I figure that this could be a leaf, possibly Cordaite, particular to the Carboniferous period (Upper).

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I saw black poking out of the snow, and this beautiful piece came out.

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One of a half dozen trees I spotted on the cliffs, bathing in the light, begging me to take their picture.

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Different angle. Closer look reveals some cool details.

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Tree in the cliff.

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Time was running short as the tides were slowly making their way back up. Before I left for the road, I decided to check the open mine shaft of an old mine in the old days that was in the area. I like this spot for you can see lots of coal seems popping out of the cliffs, shining with black luster in the sunlight. Its also around this area that I would find the most concentration of trees and plants as they lay in the cliffs.

As I drove back home I wondered how different the landscape would be when I come back sometime in the late spring or early summer. I will have to come back and see how much of a difference and change time has with these amazing cliffs in Joggins, Nova Scotia.

Edited by redleaf101

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