New Brunswick

Last night we drove to Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada to take a quick look at Reversing Falls (more of that later). As we were admiring the overlook yesterday, Brett noticed a lithologic change in the rocks under the bridge over the Saint John River; notice the light-colored rocks at the center of the image, and the brown rocks to the right:

This afternoon I learned that this is the boundary between Avalonia and Laurentia; the brown rocks are Avalonian, while the light rocks are Proterozoic rocks from Laurentia.

We were invited to visit the collections of the New Brunswick Museum by Dr. Randall Miller, the Curator of Geology and Paleontology. This museum has an excellent fossil collection that includes numerous type specimens. Some highlights from the collection:

The telson (last segment) of the giant eurypterid Pterygotus:

A slab covered with trackways of a Pennsylvanian reptile (apparently the oldest known reptile tracks):

A partial skull of a walrus (there are several of these in the collection):

Cambrian jellyfish (how often do you get to see a fossil jellyfish?):

And one of their most prized specimens, the oldest known articulated shark specimen, Doliodus problematicus. This specimen was described in Nature in 2003. It includes the cranium (top center) and the front part of the body, including the pectoral fin (I’ve slightly enhanced this image to make the shark more visible):

We spent a very pleasant and informative afternoon with Dr. Miller (who is also the person who told us about the Avalonian rocks at Reversing Falls), and I’d like to thank him for his hospitality.

We’re back in Maine now and heading home, but I’ve got a backlog of pictures to post from this trip, so more is on the way.

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One Response to New Brunswick

  1. Doug says:

    Those walrus skulls just never get old (for me at least). The shark looks really cool as well. ou should see the walrus skeleton i saw in San Diego a month ago.

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