Sunday, 23 September 2001
A while ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Ted Danner, professor emeritus from the University of British Columbia and my mentor, give a talk on the geology and fossils of the Chilliwack Group, British Columbia.
Dr. Danner has a fantastic way with words and took us on a visual journey to the Devonian quarry at Doaks Creek.
He also walked us through the Late Mississippian limestone exposures on the east side of Red Mountain, where large crinoid columnals, corals and brachiopods have been found, sometimes partly silicified, on the weathered surfaces of the limestones and shales.
Further up the west side of Red Mountain at the Kendle Quarry, we had a chance to see slides of Late Mississippian exposures where you can find fragments of brachiopods & goniatites.
Dr. Danner gave the history of Reginald A. Daly who published a series of maps in 1912 of areas along the International Boundary where he found fusulinids in the Chilliwack Valley. Fusilinids were a family of single celled organisms that existed during the Pennsylvanian (a subperiod of the Carboniferous) and the Permian period, roughly 323-225 million years ago. Fusilinids died out when a mass extinction of many life forms occurred at the end of the Permian but their lives live on in the fossil record as fossil tests (their hard outer shells).
It seems the markers Daly originally mapped have been slowly tipping to the south, with Canada gaining a small advantage over the United States each year. Look out America. Geology always wins!
Sunday, 1 July 2001
|John Leahy and Dave Langevin at McAbee Fossil Beds|
The fossils are preserved here as impressions and carbonaceous films.
We see gymnosperm (16 species); a variety of conifers (14 species to my knowledge); two species of ginkgo, a large variety of angiosperm (67 species); a variety of insects and fish remains, the rare feather and a boatload of mashed deciduous material. Nuts and cupules are also found from the dicotyledonous Fagus and Ulmus and members of the Betulaceae, including Betula and Alnus.
We see many species that look very similar to those growing in the Pacific Northwest today. Specifically, cypress, dawn redwood, fir, spruce, pine, larch, hemlock, alder, birch, dogwood, beech, sassafras, cottonwood, maple, elm and grape. If we look at the pollen data, we see over a hundred highly probable species from the site. Though rare, McAbee has also produced spiders, birds (and lovely individual feathers) along with multiple specimens of the freshwater crayfish, Aenigmastacus crandalli.
For insects, we see dragonflies, damselflies, cockroaches, termites, earwigs, aphids, leafhoppers, spittlebugs, lacewings, a variety of beetles, gnats, ants, hornets, stick insects, water striders, weevils, wasps and March flies. The insects are particularly well-preserved. Missing are the tropical Sabal (palm), seen at Princeton and the impressive Ensete (banana) and Zamiaceae (cycad) found at Eocene sites in Republic and Chuckanut, Washington.