Rock Patterns & Textures at Joggins – Part 1

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View looking south at Joggins Fossil CliffsJoggins Fossil Cliffs are a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Nova Scotia shore of the Bay of Fundy on the Atlantic coast of Canada. The stratified rocks in the cliffs were laid down in the Upper Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) Period between 310 and 300 million years ago. They consist of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone and shale, including coal measures. They are similar, though not identical, in composition, formation, and date to the wonderful Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast of Ireland.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs are particularly famous for their plant fossils, with large fossilised tree stumps weathering out of the cliffs every year. Fossils of small amphibians, and some of the first reptiles that ever lived, have also been recovered from inside tree stumps. These fossils were first discovered in the mid 19th century by the English palaeontologist Sir Charles Lyell (who was a friend and colleague of Sir Charles Darwin), and the Canadian Sir William Dawson.

View looking north at Joggins Fossil CliffsI will in due course, in following posts, develop the themes of the geology of this location, the fossils it contains, and the way it has been mined for coal. For the moment, however, I am posting images of some more abstract details of the natural fracture patterns and textures in these spectacular cliffs.


Ferguson, Laing (1988) The Fossil Cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, Nova Scotia, ISBN 978-1-55109-669-8.


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6 Replies to “Rock Patterns & Textures at Joggins – Part 1”

  1. Hi Jessica, a reply from SAMS. Hope it answers your queries.
    I’m David Hughes, a marine biologist from the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban.
    Winderjssc’s suggestion for the pink polka dot organism is almost correct. It is a Cnidarian, not a hydroid, but a species of sea anemone (Adamsia carciniopados, sometimes called the “cloak anemone”). This one is only found on shells inhabited by hermit crabs and is typically associated with the common small hermit species Pagurus prideaux.

    The bubbly scum in the other pictures is probably exactly that, i.e. a layer of mucus, bacteria and mixed organic soup shed by various marine organisms and accumulating at the sea surface.The bubbles are probably just air mixed in by the motion of the sea and trapped in the layer of goo.

    I hope this helps. Please get in touch if you have any further questions!


  2. Thank you for getting the information. Very interesting. I was close with my idea but should have thought of the anemone! Give my thanks and my regards to David Hughes – he might perhaps remember meeting Jessica Winder years ago.


  3. I have met Ruth Brennan, also at SAMS, and it was through her I received the info. I have passed on your message…..small world.


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