3. Joggins Fossil Cliffs (1843)

Joggins Fossil Cliffs

The world’s greatest tidal range is found in the Bay of Fundy. The relentless tidal power has carved magnificent cliffs around the bay, exposing its outstanding geology. The most renowned are the Fossil Cliffs at Joggins, Nova Scotia, where fossils reveal an extensive community of animals and plants from about 300 million years ago. UNESCO named the Joggins Fossil Cliffs a World Heritage Site in 2008, and the cliffs are famous for fossil tree trunks and the earliest known reptile.

The Joggins Fossil Cliffs attracted visits from leading Victorian geologists such as Charles Lyell and William Dawson, and influenced the work of Charles Darwin. William Logan was also one of the earliest scientists to visit. Indeed, following his appointment as director of the new Geological Survey of Canada, his first field expedition was to Joggins in June 1843. He spent a week there and put together a detailed section of the geology of the cliffs.

Nova Scotia was a separate colony at the time, but Logan recognized the potential of the Maritimes to provide coal to fuel industrial development in the Province of Canada, which Logan was to report had no coal resources. Confederation in 1867, was, in part, based on Logan’s assessment of coal in the Maritimes.

Joggins Fossil Cliffs

Category: Buildings and Places

Decade: 1840s


Calder, J., 2011. The Joggins Fossil Cliffs. Coal Age Galápagos; Department of Natural Resources, Nova Scotia.

Calder, J., 2006. “Coal Age Galapagos”: Joggins and the Lions of Nineteenth Century Geology; Atlantic Geology, v. 42, p. 37–51. doi:10.4138/2155

Rygel, M. and Shipley, B.C., 2005. “Such a section as never was put together before”: Logan, Dawson, Lyell, and mid-Nineteenth-Century measurements of the Pennsylvanian Joggins section of Nova Scotia; Atlantic Geology, v. 41, p. 87–102.

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