World Heritage

Home Main Page Carboniferous Era Jurassic Era Glossary Page Links Page Geo Map Page Map Page Credits Page Private Collections Page

The Fossil Cliffs of Joggins

'But the finest example in the world of a natural exposure in a continuous section ten miles long, occurs in the sea cliffs bordering a branch of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.'

Sir Charles Lyell, 1871

The famous coastal cliff section at Joggins, Nova Scotia has long been one of the world's most celebrated geological sites. The cliffs hold an unparalleled record of the vast equatorial wetland ecosystems of the 'Coal Age', over 300 million years ago, that gave rise to the vast coal deposits of North America and Europe. This spectacular record is continually replenished in the cliffs by the erosive forces of the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy.

As Sir Charles Lyell tetified in his famous, book Principles of Geology, Joggins holds records for standing fossil trees of the Carboniferous wetlands and animals great and small that were its denizens. These include the first land snails, crawling and flying insects, diminutive and gargantuan millipedes, amphibians and the first reptiles known on earth. Equally represented are the inhabitants of the waters that touched the feet of the towering lycopsid trees, including remains of sharks, rays, fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

The fossil cliffs of Joggins surely represent an 'outstanding example representing a major stage of the earth's history, including the record of life...' to paraphrase UNESCO requirements for World Heritage inscription. The designation of the Joggins fossil cliffs as a UNESCO World Heritage site is the ultimate goal of the committee currently working to develop a sustainable management plan for the cliffs, working hand in hand with the community. The Joggins World Heritage Committee includes representatives of the community, the Nova Scotia Museum, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, Cumberland Geological Society and Fundy Geological Museum, under the umbrella of the Cumberland Regional Development Association (CREDA).

The digital collections represented here offer a glimpse at some of this paleontological heritage. The cliffs and its fossils today are protected under legislation: the Special Places Protection Act. The Nova Scotia Museum issues Heritage Research Permits to paleontologists investigating the fossil record of Joggins, and people who encounter loose fossils on the shore are encouraged to bring them to the attention of the locally run Joggins Fossil Centre, the nearby Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro, or the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax, where the most important specimens can be studied and shared with the world, as on this website.

Home Main Page Carboniferous Age Jurassic Age Glossary Page Links

Back, Width=45 Height=31   Top, Width=31 Height=45