Norton Moosehorn Creek

Rocks

Highway 1 from Bloomfield to Sussex cuts through beautiful exposures of the Albert Formation, a Lower Carboniferous unit that represents lake, swamp and river deposits. Highway outcrops display nice examples of shallow water ripples. Large scale ripples created along river bottoms are more difficult to see. Ripple crests can be metres apart and sometimes fossil tree logs are trapped in the ancient ripple troughs.

Stopping on the highway is not permitted! — future plans include an interpretation centre that will tell the story of the fossil forest.

Fossil Forest

The Albert Formation outcrops near Norton record the remains of ancient rivers that drained highlands built during the creation of the supercontinent Pangea. Rivers meandered along valleys, shallow lakes and wetlands dotted the landscape. Along the margins of the rivers dense forests of lycopod trees grew on the floodplains. The trees, known as Lepidodendropsis, grew to about 10 metres tall and up to 20 centimetres in diameter. A recent study of the rocks near Norton showed that trees grew in dense thickets on thin soil horizons. Floods regularly drowned the forests. Trace fossils of small arthropods have been found and rare remains of fish are known from the Albert Formation.

Moosehorn Creek

This small stream flows into the Kennebecasis River from the south. A covered bridge built in 1915 crosses Moosehorn Creek. The bridge can be accessed along a trail that crosses under Highway 1. The trailhead and parking is located 3.5 kilometres southwest of Norton along a dirt road. The bridge was built seven years after the first fossils were discovered here by geologists from the Geological Survey of Canada. Palaeobotanist W.J. Wilson described collections of lycopods (plant fossils) he found. Wilson had been a member of the Natural History Society of New Brunswick and lived in Saint John before moving to Ottawa to join “The Survey”.

This area of New Brunswick is well-known for its covered bridges. Bridges were covered to protect them from rotting. You might want to tour covered bridges and observe the geology near them.

Access:
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Hours:
Dawn Till Dusk
Location:
Address:
Highway 1
Norton, New Brunswick
Canada
*Follow signs to the covered bridge trailhead, 3.5 km southwest of village.
GPS:
45.6116307, -65.7195972
Phone:

St. Martins

Rocks

The rocks of St. Martins are Permian-Triassic age, about 250 million years old, and belong to the Honeycomb Point, Quaco and Echo Cove formations. The sea caves are in the red Honeycomb Point Formation. The coarse boulder conglomerate is part of the Quaco Formation. The contact of the two formations is easily seen at the east end of the beach in front of the restaurants. Very few fossils are found in these rocks. Poorly preserved plant fossils were found in the Echo Cove Formation many decades ago.

Bay of Fundy Rocks

The Permian-Triassic rocks seen at St. Martins dip under the Bay of Fundy and emerge on the Nova Scotia side of the bay near Parrsboro and Blomidon. Nova Scotia’s fossil history includes the oldest dinosaurs in North America found in Triassic age rocks. Rocks in Nova Scotia include fossils similar to Coelophysis. Our rocks are too old to have dinosaur fossils.

The Triassic rocks in New Brunswick represent the oldest part of the time period, and may even extend back in geologic time to the Permian Period. Permian rocks in Prince Edward Island have produced reptile fossils like Bathygnathus. Possible reptile footprints have been seen here!

Sea Caves

Waves on the Bay of Fundy pound relentlessly on the coastal cliffs. The harbour at St. Martins has beautiful examples of sea caves, shallow features carved into sandstone and conglomerate. Sea caves are caused by physical erosion, unlike chemical solution caves in karst landscapes where carbonate bedrock has been dissolved by natural acids in rain and groundwater. In sedimentary rocks like these the caves may form along rock layers. You can see this where the boulder conglomerate meets the red sandstone. The cave floor is on the same angle as the rock layers.

Access:
Access:
Disabled Friendly:
Hours:
Dawn Till Dusk
Location:
Address:
Highway 111
St. Martins, New Brunswick
Canada
GPS:
45.348151, -65.5556239
Phone:
Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark