Friday, 17 January 2014
Once the skies cleared, hikers found plant impressions in the rock and alerted the local paleo community. I was invited to tag along on a trip to photograph the site while George Mustoe took moulds of the palm trunks and trackways.
The slide site at Sumas Mountain revealed many large exposures of fossil plants. Some exposures were 10 feet across. There was great excitement at seeing shorebird tracks and trackways of the large flightless bird Diatryma. Many of these finds can now be seen at the Burke Museum in Washington State. While less abundant, evidence of the animals that called this ancient swamp home are also found here. Rare bird, reptile, and mammal tracks have been immortalized in the soft muds along ancient riverways.
Monday, 6 January 2014
Northwest Bay is located just south of Parksville on Vancouver Island. It is a lovely place to go for a fossil day trip. Purchase a local map to help with directions. Turn east off the Island Highway onto Northwest Bay Road. Continue for 3 km and then turn left onto Wall Beach Road, which ends in a parking area up a short hill. Take the trail to the beach.
The first beds you'll encounter are yellow-brown sandstones with trigonid bivalves. Overlying these beds are fossiliferous, gritty blue-grey shales with bivalves, gastropods, ammonites and crustaceans. You’ll want to check the tide tables to arrive for low tide.