Walking at Joggins fossil cliffs

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Several days ago we were lucky enough to walk the beach at Joggins fossil cliffs in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy.  UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wow.  Imagine looking at fossil plants that are over 300 million years old. {older than dinosaurs by 100 million years}  We took the two hour tour, a beach walk with a guide.  Without the guide, I would never have seen all the things he showed us.  Fossils in the cliffs – easy to see once they are pointed out, indicate where ancient forests grew.  We saw at least two separate locations where the cliffs have broken away to reveal petrified tree trunks.

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And from one of these forests the tree trunk below will be excavated/removed for study soon – maybe even before the end of the summer.  It seems that these particular tree trunks hold inside them the fossil remains of small animal life (insects for example) from past times.  There are some fossils found here that are found no where else.  The discovery of these fossils formed an important part of  our understanding of time frames in the carboniferous age.  The staff and the exhibits do a great job explaining all about the role of fossils found here in the development of ideas about geological and evolutionary processes.

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Fossils are in the cliffs and all over the beaches.  And then there were the coal seams, breaking up to form a beach littered with hard coal pieces.

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Joggins fossil cliffs are about an hour off the main highway in Nova Scotia.  They are well worth the visit, but do time your visit with the tides to arrive near low tide.  Joggins is on the Bay of Fundy with its famous high tides. If you arrive just before or after high tide you will not be able to see much, nor walk very far on the beach.  The petrified tree trunks from ancient forests, a highlight for me, are far enough up the beach that low tide is a must for a good visit.


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