Category Archives: Updates

June 2016 – Field Work

June 2016 – Field Work

Update Summary

The staff and volunteers at the Fundy Geological Museum are collecting 200 million year old teeth bones from a site on the Bay of Fundy shore. These are important discoveries because these sandstone rocks contain the fossils of animals that survived the end-Triassic mass extinction.

The researchers are examining sediments from a Jurassic aged river found in the McCoy Brook Formation, near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The red cliffs are made of fine grained sandstone and mudstone, and preserve the bones and teeth of animals that lived during that time. For several days the field crew of Museum staff and volunteers have worked in blazing Nova Scotia sunshine and made some great discoveries.

New Discovery!

On June 26 – the field crew has found several small teeth that are of great interest. One of the most spectacular finds is the premaxilla (tip of the snout) from what may be a meat-eating (theropod) dinosaur.

The new fossils will be cleaned and studied in the Museum’s Fossil Research Lab. Museum researchers will study them in detail in order to establish the identity of the animal.

Follow the Museum’s Facebook page to see this specimen being cleaned and studied. Visit the Museum in Parrsboro to see the specimen for yourself.

16.005 - Premaxilla

The delicate bone was preserved in the fine grain sediments of a sandy Jurassic river. These river sands flowed into an ancient rift valley 200 million years ago. The bones were scattered down a river that cut through the sand dune landscape of the rift valley. The fossil bones tell a story from a time of great global change.

Museum researchers will continue to work at the site until June 28.

Protected Research Site

Wasson Bluff is protected by Nova Scotia Special Places Protection legislation. Research permits are required to examine the rocks and fossils at the research site.

The Fundy Geological Museum does conduct public tours of the site.
Check the Museum’s website for times and details.



2016 Field Work Begins

2016 Field Work Begins

The Fundy Geological Museum is the centre for field research related to the Triassic and Jurassic fossil sites located in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy region.

The Jurassic sandstone cliffs of the Parrsboro shore represent a time of great global change. Fault lines that cut through these rocks and dinosaur bones represent massive earthquakes that broke apart the supercontinent Pangea 200 million years ago. The rupture caused the geological structure of the Bay of Fundy. A large and ancient rift basin that was shifting and sinking for 40 million years, these rocks preserve a rich fossil record from the dawn of the dinosaurs.

New Field Work

The power of the world’s highest tides of the Bay of Fundy causes the sandstone cliffs to erode very quickly. The rapid erosion exposes new fossil specimens every year and makes this one of the richest sites in North America for new fossil discoveries.

  • In 2016 the Museum staff and volunteers are examining new fossils eroding from the research site at Wasson Bluff. A sandstone layer that contains scattered bones of small lizards and dinosaurs is of interest for potential to provide additional evidence of early dinosaur evolution.
  • The Museum staff are examining the site to document the types of animals represented by the 200 million year old bones and teeth found at the site.

Bay of Fundy Dinosaur Site Citizen Science

Initial Survey Work

From June 24 to 28, Museum staff and volunteers will be examining the sandstone layer exposed from the erosion that occurred last winter. The field work begins with documenting the small bones exposed on the surface of the layers.

See More – Visit the Museum

Take time to visit Parrsboro and explore an ancient landscape. 



Five Islands Arch – Before and After

Five Islands Arch – Before and After

For many years, the Five Islands Arch has been an iconic scene on the Parrsboro Shore of the Bay of Fundy. Sometime in the evening on October 19th, the Arch on Long Island collapsed (Chronicle Herald)

Residents from Five Islands and other visitors will share information about the Long Island Arch, at a Community Meeting scheduled for November 1 (1 – 4 pm) at the Fundy Geological Museum.  For more information on that event see the Facebook Event posting.


The Arch and Canada’s Oldest Dinosaurs

The rock that makes up Five Islands is basalt, a hard igneous type of rock that forms when molten magma cools. The basalt at Five Islands was formed 200 million years ago, when Canada’s oldest dinosaurs were roaming this area. The dinosaur footprints are also found at Five Islands in the sandstone deposited above the basalt.

The basalt rock at Five Islands formed when magma flooded to the earth’s surface when the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. The magma (called the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province) covered a huge area 5000 km x 2500 km. The extrusion of this large amount of magma 200 million years ago caused a global mass extinction at the end of the Triassic Period.

There were also massive earthquakes in the Bay of Fundy at this time as the supercontinent continued to separate. The cooled magma (basalt) all along the Parrsboro Shore of the Bay of Fundy was cut by earthquake faults, forming weak zones in the basalt rock. The earthquakes 200 million years ago caused a weak-zone in the rocks at Long Island, and also cut through the bones of the dinosaur bones found in the area.

Before and After with Runners – North Side of Long Island

The above two images are taken from a slightly different vantage point (low tide and high tide). Although the left and right edges of the image are not lined up, it is possible to line up the rock surface near the arch. The view of the arch with the runners was found on Google Earth, the photo of the arch after the collapse was taken October 22 (Fundy Geological Museum).

Before and After Collapse – South Side of Long Island

The above slider images show the collapse from the south side of the island. Most of the rock has fallen on south side of the island. The photo taken after the collapse shows a large fault slikenside surface on the left edge of the collapse.

NOTE: The island is private property and remains dangerous due to ongoing erosion of the cliff until it stabilizes.

LIKE the Fundy Geological Museum Facebook Page to learn more.