Current Time On The Rock

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mistaken Point Newfoundland

A true trooper and welcomed company Agnes and Eric drove the ways down the South Shore. Agnes always willing to lend a hand. That damn tripod anyway. lol

565 million year old fossils. I thought I'd add some contrast.

I wanted to show some contrast.  So I put the iPone from Nov.21st, 2010 next to a 565 million year old fossil at Mistaken Point. Where we were, to where we are. I Started thinking we've come a long way,   and then I remembered the recent catalogue from UNICEF on our lounge table at work asking for donations of not money for people in Africa (the very rock this most likely came from) but goats, wells, huts, seeds etc. and realised we really may not have travelled that far at all! Ironically enough the writing under the map on the iPhone reads Bigdeal, not by design of course, it really is though I think.

Mistaken Point in the distance is becoming a tourist attraction on the south coast of NL. 800 and some visitors a year. It is remote. Land and Sea, a CBC program, recently did a take on it. We were actually standing on the rock as it was being viewed across NL on TV. It was afterall Nov. 21st with a -5 Celsius chill and cold western wind that day.

Precambrian rock from Avaloniam Terrane, some of the oldest rock in the world and when you see it you are mesmerised by it's presence. Sutured into it's new home from another early continent it was part of but retaining it's geological information and fossils.

Some very old fossils here. This may be a spindle as these are the most plentiful.

More to see and amazing that they were discovered in such an isolated spot in the late 1960's by a Memorial University Geologist. Tony was too young then I think. Sorry buddy had to get a dig in. Excuse the pun....I'll just stop now.

Tony I believe I would have loved to have made this trip with you as you are the geologist quite literally of our kayaking group. I would have learned so much. I had to read instead. I like that too. I wanted to show some dimension to the fossils still preserved on the rock and display how vulnerable and sensitive they must be to the environment and visitors. You have to remove footwear to step on the rock. We did this even in -5. I later found out that the elevation of the small fossil parts may not be due to the biota but to the compression of the organism over time and subsequent small eruptions from underneath. No matter, you still get an excellent view of these original organisms from so long ago. Some of the biota found here is particular to Newfoundland and never before identified.


Sean Dawe said...


I've lived on the Avalon Peninsula all my life (minus two years in Halifax) and I've never made the trek to Mistaken Point. I'll put that on the to-do list for next summer. It looks pretty amazing!!


Tony said...

Mistaken Point for me is a mystical experience. Its hard to describe in words but you just have to go there to experience in person.

The site was found by "mistake" (how apt) by SB Misra in 1967 and was the subject of his master thesis. His faculty advisor was Professor Mike Anderson who I took my first geology course from in 1969. I wasn't too far removed from the period.

Soon it won't be possible to walk on the fossil beds once the interpretation center is built. You're a hardy bunch to have visited when you did.

Tony :-)

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Sean it is amazing you have to go. Tony I share with you in the magic of the place. Glad I got there before the construction of the center.


Anonymous said...

Dear Stan,

I appreciate (and share) your fascination with Mistaken Point – it is indeed a wonderful place. However, I must admit I was disappointed to learn of your Nov 21st , 2010 visit.

In order to protect this globally significant site, public access to the fossil bearing surfaces within Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve (MPER) is via an official (NL Parks and Natural Areas Division) guided tour ONLY. You passed at least three signs indicating this. These tours are offered (free of charge) from early May to mid October. They usually leave at 1pm from the Edge of Avalon Interpretive Centre in Portugal Cove South.

Under NL’s Wilderness ands Ecological Reserve’s Act and related legislation it is illegal to enter the Reserve’s Fossil Protection Zone (which includes the fossil site you visited) without a permit. Landing of boats (including kayaks) within MPER is also not permitted.

You are of course welcome to visit the Reserve during the May-October season. For further information please contact me at

Kind Regards,
Valerie Sullivan
Manager, MPER

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Fisrt off I'd lke to thank Miss Sullivan for responding to this post. Secondly I'd like to apologise for my lack of forethought in visiting this site without a guide. I certainly wasn't aware that a permit was needed, the signs you mentioned were covered in snow that day and we pretty much hurried the whole adenture. Having worked on archeologial digs in my past for Parks Canada I hope you can realise that the utmost respect was given to the site when visited. We did remove our footware when walking on the rock for the brief time we were there and considering the conditions at the time. I certainly don't condone anyone to consider doing what we did. We were kind of wrapped up in the broadcast that brought to our attention the site on the Land and Sea documentary being aired on CBC the day we left. I guess we were feeling overly nostalgic about the whole prospect of visiting the site. I once again encourage people to attend at the times recommeneded by MPER and seek the accompaniment of a guide trained by Parks Canada and to get the full and thorough impact of the site visitation. In hind sight this was an inconsiderate act for the progress made by the group wishing to preserve this site but please once again rest assured that we gave the site the utmost respect and consideration that would have been expected of anyone visiting the site with a guide. It won't happen again and I've no intentions of visiting the site via a kayak or any other mode other than that authorised by Parks Canada. I hope this post will discourage any others who may consider visiting the site off season and once again I thank Ms. Sullivan for making me and perhaps any others aware of the seriousness of the implications unauthorised visits may have to the conservation of such a wonderful and historical site in Newfoundland.