The Fundy Geological Museum isthe 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.
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.
You can now watch Episode 3 of DinoHunt Canada on YouTube.
The four part series originally aired on History Channel in January of 2015. Episode 3 “The Dawn of the Dinosaurs” focuses on the dinosaur bones and footprints found on the shores of Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.
Watch the episode to see how the team from the Fundy Geological Museum work to expose the bones of 200 million year old dinosaurs, while others search for clues among the dinosaur footprints and other fossils found along the shores of the Bay of Fundy.
On Thursday October 29th the remnants of Hurricane Patricia rolled through the Maritimes. The storm coincided with a particularly high tide (14.1 meters) that was forecast to occur in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The storm surge resulting from the post-hurricane storm caused damage along the Parrsboro Shore of the Bay of Fundy. Spencer’s Island saw large gravel movement and coastal flooding. Waves in the Minas Basin (Bay of Fundy) were also large and pounded against the cliffs at Two Islands. This storm battered the sandstone cliffs at Wasson Bluff, where the dinosaur research site is located.
The Museum received information from D. Nardini, a private mineral collector who had visited the shore after the storm. The cliffs were washed clean and there appeared to be some recent erosion from the storm surge. Dr. Tim Fedak, a palaeontologist and the curator at the Fundy Geological Museum went to examine the cliffs after the storm surge.
NOTE: The site at Wasson Bluff is protected by Special Places Protection Act. No one is to carry out any work around the cliffs, with all fossil collection prohibited, except with an approved Nova Scotia Heritage Research Permit.
Halloween Dinosaur Discovery
Fedak visited the research site in the morning of Halloween Day 2015. The initial task at the Research Site there was to capture several high-resolution photographs of the cliff to be used to create 3D scans of the cliff surface. More on this in the future.
After completing the photographs for 3D scanning, Fedak examined the site of the “Princeton Quarry” where a mass accumulation of dinosaur skeletons has been recovered during previous research. The sandstone cliff at the research site was washed clean of all debris – and new dinosaur bone was visible on the surface of the cliff. A new discovery!
The sandstone cliff at the research site was washed clean of all debris – and new dinosaur bone was visible on the surface of the cliff. A new discovery!
The weather forecast was calling for rain, so to prevent further erosion of the specimen a channel was cut in the sandstone. The channel around the specimen would direct rain flowing down the cliff around the specimen.
Over the next several days the edges of the Fundy dinosaur bones were carefully exposed. During one of these trips, a high school student (Timo Sanders) and his father (Frans) assisted with some of the early excavation work. An excellent opportunity for Timo to learn first hand how palaeontologists work to collect new fossil specimens.
After several trips to the research site, the channel around the specimen was carefully expanded to allow a small block to be removed. Watch a video showing some of the work done to create the channel around the dinosaur bones.
The fossil bones and sandstone block were then covered with a plaster and burlap field jacket (like a cast for a broken arm), which protected the bone and sandstone block. A large and wide chisel was used to separate the block of sandstone containing the 200 million year old dinosaur bones.
The block was then removed and taken to the Fundy Geological Museum. The new dinosaur bones will be studied in the Fossil Research Lab. Visitors to the Museum will be able look into the Fossil Research Lab and see the block being worked on by museum staff and volunteers. Visit the Fundy Geological Museum next spring/summer to see the latest updates on this new discovery.