The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Clifton (June 2014)

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

Joggins, Nova Scotia - October 2014

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


New Brunswick Museum's Research Lab (Day In Saint John, NB)

A few weekends ago I went for a day trip to Saint John to meet up with my friend Matt at the New Brunswick Museum's Steinhammer Lab. He's currently doing a stint at the research facility and I couldn't resist, desperately wanting to tour this historic place.


This building was the original New Brunswick Museum until it needed more space to accommodate a growing collection. In the 1990s, the exhibition displays found a new home downtown (Market Street area), but most of its collection (closed to the public) was kept at the original building on Douglas Avenue.

This museum is considered Canada's oldest, housing collections dating back to its first proprietor, Abraham Gesner. The influence of the Steinhammer Club, comprised of geologists from the area and abroad, was pivotal in the history of Geology across the globe. They founded the Natural History Society of New Brunswick, and from there the contributions to science have been crucial to the advancement of several fields.

I had also wanted to meet up again with Dr. Randall Miller, curator of the collections and museum, but he was currently out of town. I arrived at the old museum in one piece after dodging a hellish traffic and weird road designs. Beautiful city, crappy roads.

Matt making sure Steve is hard at work

I got to the museum and after talking to the wonderful staff, I met up with Matt and one other friend, Steve. Steve is an amazing fella and will keep you on your toes. They were in the middle of taking specimens collected in recent field work (a couple that I've participated in) and offered to lend a hand. We unloaded the material to the lab, and headed out for a bite to eat.


After parting ways with Steve as he headed back to Fredericton, we proceeded in taking a tour of the Steinhammer Palaeontology Lab. I didn't take any pictures as Randy wasn't around and didn't want to take any just in case he didn't approve. Going through the collection, I've seen some incredible representations of various paleobiological and paleobotanical specimens, including many type specimens. Trilobites, which a cast of one of the biggest I've ever seen barely fit in the collection cabinet. Eurypterids, or sea scorpions, that could give you nightmares, were the size of your average family dog. Fish, bones, and even the remains of a wooly mammoth (Mastodon) graced the collection. This animal was collected from the Hillsborough area, near where I live. The tusks were incredible to behold.

Walking through the halls, it was easy to get lost amidst the many artifacts laying around, beckoning, hungry for your attention. Even going to the washrooms you have to pass a wall of jars, each filled with animals living, and extinct. One doesn't linger too long in the bathroom let me tell ya. Also among the specimens at the lab were the many trackways that we collected, waiting to be analyzed and studied. Seeing specimens that you helped bring up in the light of day and residing in this place was quite a special feeling.

As the day winded down, me and Matt chatted about the importance of keeping collections together, and the crucial role that these play. Every effort must be made to help save these as they help us understand our past and help dictate a future most rich. Our friend Margaret arrived near the end of my stay. As we said our goodbyes, I felt that it was imperative that I participate in the discovery and safekeeping of fossils, and to contribute in the advancement in the fields surrounding those of paleontology and biology.

That is why I love geology, as it makes me have an intimate rapport with science, to which I love and am passionate to no end. To understand and comprehend, wonder even for what nature has left in our path, often hidden, for us to uncover and rediscover.

Cheers!

- Keenan

Saint John River, view from behind the museum

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Maple Kinda Day

(Back in early April)


Winter delayed this year's maple season with long term frigid conditions and mountains of snow still lingering around, refusing to go away.  Going to the sugar shack is a sign that Winter is finally coming to an end.  What better way than to celebrate with a belly full of maple!

This sugar shack is located in Stilesville, up around Gorge Road in the Indian Mountains (a few minutes drive from Moncton).  There are several shacks vying for our business, but I like going to the one all the way to the end called Trites Maples (recently changed from Trites Family Sugar Bush).

Heading towards sugar shack at the end of the road




Most lines finally jutting out from the snow, promoting sap transportation





They've renovated and it looks amazing!  They added an extension which double the size of the place.  The wood stove is also positioned in the center, distributing heat and making it very comfortable.  The outside porch was also added, which is great for people waiting in line.

I showed up SUPER early as I couldn't wait!

Yummy!

I now try to go at least once a year.  I tend to coax my friends and family to go and enjoy a good ol' tradition of filling one's belly with sugary goodness!

Good bye Winter, HELLO SUGAR!

- Keenan