About the Property

Cliffs and reefs
Cliffs and reefs at low tide in Joggins, N.S.

The property at Joggins comprises 14.7 km (9.1 mi) of coastline along the tumultuous Bay of Fundy. This magnificent setting is home to what Sir Charles Lyell described as “the finest exposure in the world” of the rocks and fossil record of the Coal Age of Earth’s history.

Typically more than 30 m (98′) in height, the alternating grey and reddish-brown cliff-faces drop abruptly to a rocky beach composed of cobbles and boulders culled from the cliffs above. This border of cliff and beach, periodically submerged by the ocean tides, is crossed by a series of bedrock reefs. The Bay of Fundy tides, the highest in the world, withdraw twice daily to expose hundreds of metres of shoreline.

The Grand Exposure

At Joggins, the highest tides in the world reveal the world famous grand exposure of the Coal Age:

  • more than 15 km (9.3 mi) of fossil-bearing cliffs
  • new fossils continually exposed by erosion
  • incredible geological and paleontological riches and a rugged, beautiful beach — when the tide is low!

The fossil record

What makes Joggins the best place on Earth to see what life was like more than 310 million years ago, during the late Carboniferous Period?

  • exceptional fossil wealth
  • fossils of life on dry land — including some creatures found nowhere else
  • fossils preserved in their original setting
  • Joggins is like a stone snapshot of the ancient world!

The world of big ideas

In the mid-1800s, Joggins inspired some of the world's leading scientists — including Sir Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, and Canada’s own Sir William Dawson — and helped them to develop their ideas about geological processes and the history of life on Earth. Since then, scientists from around the world have carried on this tradition of research at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs.

In our Big Ideas Theatre, museum goers watch our short, light-hearted movie entitled "The Big Idea".

Published: 2016-05-02