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Records of Scientific Inquiry

The Earthquake Dinosaurs Facebook page provides new levels of online community engagement.  At the time of writing this post, there are 1938 individuals receiving updates when new steps have been taken research projects.  In a year’s time that number might become much larger (10,000 or more). The global Facebook audience widens the opportunity for social engagement with natural history research programs.

Earthquake Dinosaurs Updates provide information about ongoing Jurassic Paleontology research projects as examples of scientific inquiry and museum-based natural history research.

The Triassic-Jurassic boundary (geological time-period) is of interest from ecological and evolutionary perspectives.

  • During this time the ancient supercontinent Pangaea ruptures to form the continents of today; earthquakes and tectonic plates as evolving earth,
  • continental sized magma comes to the surface (Central Atlantic Magmatic Province),
  • a supergreenhouse environment from rapid CO2 (from basalt magma) and methane increase in atmosphere.
  • end-Triassic global mass extinction followed by Early Jurassic recovery; Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Mammals.

The skeletons of Canada’s oldest dinosaurs and primitive mammal-like reptiles are preserved in the sandstone cliffs that line the shores of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.  The Earthquake Dinosaurs site provides an opportunity for public to… join in the discovery.

Check back again in the future to see the final digital presentation of some scientifically important specimens.  Let us know when you have questions about anything you see. 

 

 

 

 

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Updates

Research History – 2000 Dinosaur Dig

The intention of the Earthquake Dinosaurs website is to engage an online community with the opportunity to be engaged with research focused on the dinosaurs and other Jurassic fossils from the shores of the Bay of Fundy.  The name Earthquake Dinosaurs refers to the importance that tectonics, the break of Pangaea and the formation of rift-basins, played when these animals were alive 200 million years ago.  This is a story about the fossils, but also dynamic changes in the surface of the earth as preserved in the sedimentary rocks on the shores of the Bay of Fundy.

Check out the recent history of Nova Scotia dinosaur digs from 2000-2006.

 

 

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Geology - Rift Basin

Birth of the Bay of Fundy

Today, the Minas Basin in the Bay of Fundy holds the record for the highest tides in the world.  Also, the oldest dinosaurs in Canada are found along the shores of the Minas Basin. But the history of the Bay of Fundy relates to the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea 200 million years ago. The birth of the Bay of Fundy was earth shattering!

Sea level was lower 10,000 years ago than it is today. At that time the area covered by today’s Bay of Fundy was just a lowland terrain.  Ocean water began flooding the Bay of Fundy area when sea level rose about 9000 years ago.  Ever since then, the powerful tides have carved and eroded the shoreline.  In some areas the tides continue to erode the shoreline cliffs as much as 50 cm (20 inches) per year!

Why was the Bay of Fundy a lowland area before it was flooded by ocean water? The answer is found in the rocks now exposed along the shoreline today.  Many of these rocks are sandstone.  Although now hard rock, sandstone was once just loose sand and pebbles that covered the ground and the bottom of rivers.  These sandstones have been dated to be over 200 million years old.  Two hundred million years ago, what is now rock, was just loose sand blowing in the wind.

Also among the sandstone rocks we can see today another very important detail.  In many of the sandstone rocks you can see large faults.  Faults are rips in the earth’s surface that were caused by massive earthquakes.  Huge earthquakes shook the ground and tore faults in the earth.  These faults caused large areas of ground to sink down into lowland areas called rift basins.  The reason for the earthquakes was continental drift and the break-up of the supercontinent Pangaea.

Pangaea began to break apart 200 million years ago. The area that is now the Bay of Fundy was ripped apart and sank down to form a rift basin.  Water from rivers carried sand and pebbles into the lowland area.  Over millions of years the sand began to fill the rift basin and the sand eventually turned to sandstone. Sometimes, the sand would bury a dinosaur skeleton, and preserve it as a fossil.  Today, researchers find these dinosaur bones, and study them as part of the Earthquake Dinosaurs projects.

A lowland area was formed 200 million years ago that would eventually become the Bay of Fundy.  For millions of years this has been a very special place on earth.  Join the discover and learn more about the Bay of Fundy.

Please feel free to ask your questions about the birth of the Bay of Fundy, leave a comment below.