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Places You Should Go: Blue Beach, Nova Scotia

Blue Beach is a fossil beach located in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. It has been dated to the Late Carboniferous, and there are so many fossils scattered across its surface that it is impossible to take a single step without finding one underfoot. Beach Beach is most well-known for its tetrapod trackways; the earliest of their kind ever found (top photos). There have also been hundreds of discoveries of tetrapod bones, trilobites, insects, plants and sea floor impressions.

The last three photos are of a few interesting fossils I found among the thousands that scatter the beach. The leftmost one had a paper-thin layer of shale covering the details of the plant matter, which crumbled off when I picked it up.The center image is another plant impression, I believe from the family Lepidodendrales. There were hundreds of these fragments on the beach, the largest easily being as big as my torso.

The final image was a piece I scrambled up the cliff face to find, after finding a tiny fragment on the beach. I think I found the origin layer for it, since I found several more pieces, all about the size of the one in the photograph. Unfortunately, the resident paleontologist had gone home by the time we were done scrambling around, so I couldn’t ask him what it was - but in my dreams, it’s a skin impression. I left some pieces directly downhill from the site, and maybe one day I’ll hear tales of another fantastic discovery thanks to an unknown visitor.

Beach Beach is absolutely stunning, and the museum housing the fossil collection is impressive despite the fact that they have never received funding of any kind for what they do, and is run by only two people out of a small Nissen hut near their home. This museum can use any and all donations, so if you are ever in the area, add it to your itinerary!

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