Lepreau Falls Provincial Park

Rocks

The rocks at Lepreau Falls belong to the Mabou Group and are likely Early Carboniferous age, about 325 to 315 million years old. The rocks are red to purple sandstone, shale and conglomerate. Very few fossils are found in these rocks and their age has been difficult to determine. In the 1970’s geologists thought the rocks were from the Triassic Period (251 to 199 million years ago). The fossils found here were described as Triassic age. They are now known to be much older.

Fossils

Fossils are usually the buried remains of animals and plants, preserved as petrified body remains, a cast or a mould. Fossils can also be traces made by organisms, such as footprint trackways left by animals walking across the mud. Trace fossils provide scientific information about behaviour. How fast did the animal walk? Did it travel alone or in a herd?
A rare occurrence of a tetrapod trackway was discovered at Lepreau Falls in 1974. A tetrapod is a four-legged animal. The footprints were likely made by an amphibian. At least two sets of footprints were found, with a groove down the middle made by the tail, as animal walked across a wet surface. Geological information at the time indicated the rocks here were from the Triassic Period (251 to 199 million years ago). They are now believed to be Early Carboniferous age rocks (325 to 315 million years ago). The footprints were probably left by some of the oldest amphibians on Earth.

Erosion

Rocks are eroded by the action of water slowly breaking down the layers into smaller and smaller pieces. During the winter, ice and frost will also break down the rock. As the rocks are slowly worn down the sand and mud will be washed out into the Bay of Fundy. They will eventually become sedimentary rocks again as part the recycling of the Earth’s crust. The red sedimentary rocks at Lepreau Falls were once deposited in water along a river or shoreline. The footprints trackways found here tell us the water was often shallow.

Access:
Year Round
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Hours:
Dawn Till Dusk
Location:
Address:
South of Highway 1
West of Saint John, New Brunswick
Canada
GPS:
45.1685486, -66.4601306
Phone:

Uptown Saint John

Rocks

Uptown Saint John is built mostly on Cambrian rocks of the Saint John Group first described in detail in the 1880s by local geologist George Matthew. At the south end of the Uptown peninsula there are volcanic rocks of the Precambrian to Cambrian age (Taylors Island Formation), and Upper Carboniferous rocks of the Lancaster Formation along the shore. Outcrops can be seen scattered around the Uptown area, below buildings and along sidewalks. Saint John Group rocks are visible on Canterbury Street near the corner of Princess Street, or behind the Courthouse east of Kings Square.

Rocks and Buildings

Uptown Saint John provides other opportunities to explore geology. Many of the older buildings are built of New Brunswick stone. In particular, buildings constructed immediately after the Great Fire of 1877 are interesting. Fire destroyed about 1600 buildings south of King Street in June 1877. The city was quickly rebuilt, especially the commercial district along Prince William and King Streets. By this time the Province had a flourishing building stone industry and many new buildings in Saint John were constructed of sandstone from southeastern New Brunswick, granite from Hampstead and Charlotte County, and local marble.

Sandstone Sculpture

Be sure to look up when exploring the geology of Uptown Saint John. Many of the most interesting features are the sandstone carvings around windows and doorways. Sandstone is a relatively soft material and it was used extensively to create decorative elements on buildings. Try counting the animals on the Palantine Building on Prince William Street. Red and black ‘granite’ is much harder and was used to make colourful pillars. The St. George granite industry in Charlotte County had only just begun a few years before the Great Fire. You can sometimes tell pre- and post- fire buildings by the use of St. George granite.

Access:
Year Round
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Hours:
24/7
Location:
Address:
GPS:
45.2734691, -66.0647683
Phone:

Fundy Trail Parkway

Rocks

The rock outcrops along the Fundy Trail Parkway expose both Precambrian to Cambrian rocks near the bridge at Big Salmon River, and Triassic age rocks along the coast to the west. About 400 million years of Earth history can be seen here. The older rocks tell the story of the ancient Iapetus Ocean. In Greek mythology Iapetus was a Titan, and father of Atlas. The modern Atlantic Ocean is named after Atlas.

The Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is a relatively recent geological feature, only about 200 million years old. The rocks at Big Salmon River are 600 million years old! The Atlantic Ocean was created by sea-floor spreading. Molten rock from the Earth’s interior rises to the surface to create new crust. As it rises and cools the new crust expands along volcanic mountain chains on the seafloor. Old crust returns to the Earth’s interior along deep ocean trenches. Seafloor volcanic mountain chains mark the middle of an expanding ocean basin. The rising molten material creates a ‘bubble’ in the crust that eventually breaks (to create volcanoes).
They eventually join to form a long break in the crust where a new ocean is born. One crack fails to join another. The ‘failed rift’ is called an aulacogen. The Bay of Fundy is a ‘failed rift’ created when the Atlantic Ocean was born. Instead of becoming part of a new ocean, it became a ‘rift valley’ that filled with sediment.

Coastal Erosion

Rocks are eroded by the action of water slowly breaking down the layers into smaller pieces. As the rocks are slowly worn down the sand and mud will be washed out into the Bay of Fundy. They will eventually become sedimentary rocks again as part of the recycling of the Earth’s crust. ‘Flower pots’ are a picturesque result of coastal erosion. They are small fragment so the eroding coastline that have withstood the pounding of the sea. They remind us where the coastline once stood. Someday they will succumb to the sea.

Access:
Access:
Mid May (Victoria Day weekend), through mid October (Canadian Thanksgiving weekend) Off-season access to the park is available through our off-season gate located just outside the main entrance for walking, hiking and biking only.
Disabled Friendly:
Yes
Hours:
May 20-Jun 24 9am-5pm
Jun 25-Aug 19 8am-8pm
Aug 20-Sep 5 9am-7pm
Sep 6-Oct 10 9am-5pm
Location:
Address:
Entrance
3 Fundy Trail Parkway
Salmon River, New Brunswick
E5R 1W4 ~ Canada
Office
229 Main Street
St. Martins
E5R 1B7 ~ Canada
GPS:
45.4085942, -65.4314777
Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark