July 20, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a 689-hectare palaeontological site along the coast of Nova Scotia have been described as the “coal age Galpagos” due to their wealth of fossils from the Carboniferous period (354 to 290 million years ago).
The rocks of this site are considered to be iconic for this period of the history of Earth and are the world’s thickest and most comprehensive record of the Pennsylvanian strata (dating back 318 to 303 million years) with the most complete known fossil record of terrestrial life from that time. These include the remains and tracks of very early animals and the rainforest in which they lived, left in situ, intact and undisturbed.
With its 14.7 kilometres of sea cliffs, low bluffs, rock platforms and beach, the site groups remains of three ecosystems: estuarine bay, floodplain rainforest and fire-prone forested alluvial plain with freshwater pools. It offers the richest assemblage known of the fossil life in these three ecosystems with 96 genera and 148 species of fossils and 20 footprint groups. The site is listed as containing outstanding examples representing major stages in the history of Earth.
Additionally, the Joggins Fossil Centre by WHW Architects Inc. recently received a Nova Scotia Association of Architects’ Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Excellence.