Tuesday, August 14, 2012


PALEO ART.  In the Earth Sciences building at Memorial University, spectacular art celebrating fossils greets the curious visitor! (photos by Hallelujah Truth)

HALLELUJAH for BEING and INFINITY. Hallelujah for education, science, and ways of knowing about BEING. Spending concentrated amounts of time with paleontologists is pleasurable and life-informing. Spending time with paleontologists who interpret behavior from the trace fossil record--ICHNOLOGISTS--is even more mind expanding and dazzling!

I, Hallelujah, went with international ichnologists on a JOURNEY in Newfoundland, Canada!  The field guide writers describe our ODYSSEY into the Ediacaran and Cambrian in superlatives--we are going to see "the most important stratigraphic boundary in Earth history"..."the  most important and spectacular Ediacaran  fossil assemblages in the world"...and "the most beautiful coastal areas in Canada"! Hallelujah!

Our first day began at the Earth Sciences building on the campus of Memorial University in St Johns. Paleontologists from Japan, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Poland, the UK, and the United States gathered to greet one another, get field guides, and look at some of the fossils on display. I was pleasantly surprised to see several large pieces of art gracing the lobby walls, celebrating fossil images, science and art merging to amplify one another. We then boarded a yellow school  bus and left St Johns.

CHIBOOGAMOO, MASTERFUL ICHNOLOGIST, AND ME, HALLELUJAH TRUTH.  My brilliant husband and I posed with the yellow school bus in front of our hotel at Grand Bank on the Avalon peninsula of Newfoundland.
Our first field trip stop was at Harbour Main in Conception Bay to see the sediments that express so much information about what occurred in this area hundreds of millions of years ago. We looked at diamictites, laminated mudstones, and slump deposits--all remnants of glaciers and a period of time when the Earth was thought to be encased in ice, a time scientists describe as "Snowball Earth." And, of course, at some point Snowball Earth began to thaw. Melting from its frozen state caused all kinds of things to occur, one of them being the precipitation of limestone. At this Harbour Main stop, we looked at rocks that express this time in the Earth's history, the limestone bed as evidence of the rising temperatures that occurred after an ice infinity.

HARBOUR MAIN. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)  
DIAMICTITES. (photo by Chiboogamoo)
The day's explorations concluded with Grand Bank so we could see some early Cambrian trace fossils (Cambrian and Ediacaran periods to be explained in day 2 of our fieldtrip.). Fortunately, for all of us, the sun came out to brighten our afternoon. We walked to a stone beach  from the Grand Bank Methodist Church parking lot through town,  passing by small cottages whose inhabitants were using the good weather to hang laundry and do yard work. The clouds feathered  out over our heads in an intensely blue sky, as we walked along the cliffs with green meadows extending up and away from us. 

ICHNOLOGISTS IN NEWFOUNDLAND.  Our group paused for this photo before scrambling down the cliff face to find the trace fossils that documented a more complex behavior than those in those in the Ediacaran period. You can see the town of Grand Bank in the background. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)

After a group photo, we climbed down the cliffs to find Treptichnus, a fossil burrowing trace. These tiny marks in the rocks show that at a certain point in time, organisms developed more complex behaviors and began going beneath the surface of the sea floor seeking food.  Chiboogamoo said that this site had many examples of Treptichnus and other trace fossils, and that he was delighted at the abundance. 

READING THE ROCKS. My Chiboogamoo and his German colleague, Dirk, discuss Treptichnus. (photo by Hallelujah Truth)
A GLUT OF ICHNOLOGISTS. As the sun sets on our first day of the field trip in Newfoundland,  I watch over (top right, next to sun)  my beloved ichnologists who are earnestly examining the rocks in a deep and meaningful way. Wow! (photo by Chiboogamoo)
TREPTICHNUS. (photo by Chiboogamoo)

I had fun looking for these marks in the rocks jutting out over the beautiful deep blue Atlantic Ocean. The air was cool. The sun was warm. The ichnologists were enthralled. And, I, Hallelujah, learned about some of our earliest origins.Hallelujah for learning about the flow of LIFE, for the Paleontologists that can read the rocks and tell us about the succession of events that brought us into BEING!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Thanks to our wonderful field trip facilitators, Liam Herringshaw (author of the blog, "OLD LOST SEA")and Jack Matthews (author of the blog "Jack J Matthews:Musings geological, political and anything else-ical")! Their knowledgable explanations and kind responses to my questions were greatly appreciated. And, as always, gratitude goes to my boon companion Chiboogamoo.

MOOSE ART AT GOOBIES. Lunch was eaten standing in the rain. Two of us huddled next to the moose art in front of the gas station convenience store to get shielded from some of the drizzle. I'm in the purple jacket, and Tony's colleague from Poland is sitting under the moose. (photo by Chiboogamoo)


  1. How wonderful and beautiful discovering traces of life long ago written in stone!

    1. Karen as I reflect on this blog two and half years later, I can't believe how interesting it was. Time changes the way we are and what we perceive.