Eype Beach Stream 1

Just a Common Whelk Shell (2)

Study of a Common Whelk shell

Close-up, even the most common seashell picked up on the beach has a wealth of detail in its colour, pattern, and texture that tell the story of what it is and the life it has led, stage by stage: the shape and form, the size, the inherent sculpturing, the fine growth lines, breaks, scarring, and staining. Unusually, this Common Whelk shell (Buccinum undatum) has no attached epibiont organisms like barnacles or sea mats, or evidence of boring organisms like marine worms and sponges. Its black and orange staining show that it has spent some time buried in the sand near the top of the boundary from 5 – 15 cm deep that is a gradation between the anoxic black sediment where mostly only anaerobic bacteria thrive – and the yellow sand above which has enough free oxygen to support the life of immense populations of micro-organisms and to decompose their waste products.

Detail of growth lines and pattern in a Common Whelk shell

Study of a Common Whelk shell

Close-up image of seashell texture

Study of a Common Whelk shell

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

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Sea Sparkles 2

Rock Patterns & Textures at Joggins – Part 2

 

Cliff face rock strataMore patterns and textures of rocks at Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Canada. You might ask what is the significance of these images? The truth is that they not only seem to me to be examples of natural abstract geological art but they also represent some of the many the rock types at this location – rocks that are providing geologists, palaeontologists and palaeo-environmentalists with vital information about the way the world was in the late Carboniferous Period.

Important discoveries were first made at this site in the mid 1800’s and have been continuing since then – but there has been an upsurge in research into these rocks in recent years. I can do no better than to quote from the abstract of the paper by Grey & Finkel (2011) that summarises the situation:

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site is a carboniferous coastal section along the shores of the Cumberland basin, an extension of Chignecto bay, itself an arm of the bay of Fundy, with excellent preservation of biota preserved in their environmental context. The Cliffs provide insight into the Late carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) world, the most important interval in Earth’s past for the formation of coal. The site has had a long history of scientific research and, while there have been well over 100 publications in over 150 years of research at the Cliffs, discoveries continue and critical questions remain. Recent research (post-1950) falls under one of three categories: general geology; paleobiology; and paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and provides a context for future work at the site. While recent research has made large strides in our understanding of the Late Carboniferous, many questions remain to be studied and resolved, and interest in addressing these issues is clearly not waning.

REFERENCES

Grey, Melissa & Finkel, Zoe E. (2011)  The Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage site: a review of recent research, Atlantic Geology, 47, pp 185 -200.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

Rock Patterns & Textures at Joggins – Part 1

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.

REFERENCES

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

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved

Patterns of cracks at Kimmeridge

 

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Natural patterns of cracks in the surface layers of a shale rock platform on the seashore at Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset, England.

COPYRIGHT JESSICA WINDER 2014

All Rights Reserved