Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bay of Fundy and the Joggins Fossil Cliffs

Stick Woman in PerilSo we left the Hopewell Rocks and headed north, through Moncton, where we didn't stop. RJH had to live there for a year, and it remains on his list of least favorite places, though he confessed he may be biased. We stopped briefly in Sackville, where I had to photograph the ladies' room sign for my stickmen-in-peril series. The men's room figure did not show any such signs of desperation, so it was a pretty funny comment on gender (& bladder size/propensity to stop driving to let the other person use the facilities, etc.). We stopped again for ice cream, which was good, though served by the world's least enthusiastic ice cream scooper. "I hate ice cream," she said, "and it's nothing by ice cream, all summer. I do like popsicles though." After the 2 minute tour of Mount Allison University, we went across to Nova Scotia and headed for Joggins.

Joggins muralWe had read about the fossils, but were unsure of what to expect. It was almost 4 pm and we were worried about paying admission, closing time, and high tide, at this UNESCO World Heritage Site (for those keeping score, this was number four, after Peggy's Cove, Lunenberg, and the Hopewell Rocks). When we got there however, we found that there was no admission fee unless you go to the museum and we were free to explore on our own as long as we want, though we were given some stern advice about the tides as this is also on the Bay of Fundy. Incredibly, the museum at this amazing site -a site instrumental to Charles Lyell's thinking and hence to his friend Darwin's Theory of Evolution - receives no Provincial or Federal funding. RJH pointed out that there's really nothing stopping anyone from walking off with large pieces of fossilized Carboniferous (359 to 299 Million Years Ago) trees! I do think Canada should protect this place; it is part of World Heritage.

Actually, based on this stickman in peril panel, the warnings about walking the shoreline could have been more severe. In hindsight, we were too close to the cliffs, in an effort to avoid the rising tide. I started seeing fossils as soon as we got to the beach. Generally I use the geologist's trick of photographing rocks with something (a dime with the Bluenose, as this is Nova Scotia) for scale. It was very easy to pick out the coal stream in the cliff face strata. Click on any photo to see a larger version, or the full photo stream (where there are more fossils).

stickman in 3 types of peril

beach at JogginsJoggins rockfossils with dime
Joggins fossilfirst fossil found JogginsJoggins layers
fossil tree
See! It's a tropical tree. Right there. Nothing for scale - it was regular tree-trunk size.

leaf imprinttree with dimelayers Joggins
handheldonce a treeJoggins beach view
rocks Jogginsmermaid purse and rockfossils with dime
dime on rocktree on rocktree bits, dime for scalereeds and dimebeachparallel lines
looking downdime, bark, shadowdime plus imprint
Joggins beachJoggins cliffRocks Joggins beach
fossil cliff
both directions
fossil jutsfossil in rocktree fossil
fossil treedimeshoe + tree
Carboniferous treefossil tree

By the time we finished our walk, the museum was closed. Since we were concerned how far we could get before we would need a hotel for the night, we did not follow the coast along the Bay, but cut down to Parrsboro. We saw the coast from the highway and took a small road to the water, somewhere between Parrsboro and Economy. Because I'm silly I was highly amused by the town of 'Lower Economy'.

Nova Scotia view
islands from showshorelinewetlands

We spent the night in Truro (also on RJH's list of least favorite places), but we did manage to find a restaurant which wasn't serving fast food. I'm glad to report we never resorted to McLobster.

No comments: