Leaving the Sea Behind

On any trip to the coast, there will always come that day when we must leave the sea behind us, catching the last glimmer of blue water in the rearview mirror as we steel ourselves for return to a fully land-bound existence. This summer, our “last chance to sea” came at the salt marsh park of La Pocatière, Québec. Zoned bands of grasses in the salt marsh lead to the sea. La Pocatière is a…

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A Certain Logic

Churchill, Manitoba: August, 2015   The careful juxtaposition of the picnic table and sign must have required a very special sort of thinking. You are in danger if you walk in this area, but yes, it would be just fine to have a picnic. Please don’t forget to bring sardines for the bears. Polar bears like sardines.   © Graham Young, 2017

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Going to Pieces on the Shore

Indian Point, Saint Andrews, New Brunswick: July-August, 2017 The tide is still going out.  Off the point, the gulls squabble among themselves in the wake of a passing boat. A guillemot floats on the swell much farther offshore, its white wings bright against the black body. You turn just in time to see the osprey flap past, flying low with a heavy fish in her claws as she labours toward her nest on Navy Island.…

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What Geologists Share: Fieldwork and the Four Dimensions

If you visit this page occasionally, you will have noticed that I have posted very little since last spring. This interval correlates rather precisely with my term as President of the Geological Association of Canada. I have discovered that it really isn’t possible to be both an active blogger and an active officer of a national organization, and since the term of the president is just one year, I have been focused on that. As…

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Golden Hour at Churchill

Scenes from Northern Summers (5) In photography, “golden hour” is the interval just before sunset or just after sunrise, in which photographs are enhanced by the low angle and golden quality of light. Churchill, Manitoba, is a place where it is almost impossible to take a bad photograph, due to the sculptured, variable landscape and diversity of interesting life forms. Put golden hour and Churchill together, and even those of us with modest photographic skills can…

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Meditation at 20,000 Feet

The following is lightly edited from notes written last week, as I travelled westward on a flight from Fredericton (New Brunswick) to Toronto. Across northern Maine and southern Québec, those ever-changing landforms are ghosts and memories. We cannot say that the Earth remembers everything that has ever happened to its surface – it has forgotten far more than it remembers, but it remembers a lot. Every one of those features below us has a memory to…

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Periwinkles on a basaltic boulder Those of us who study the ecology of long-extinct marine creatures have to work from clues: the morphologies of the fossilized organisms, the character of the enclosing sediment, and the preserved spatial relationships between fossils in bedrock. It is always pleasing to see modern examples that support our interpretations of ancient life. These photos from the shore of Passamaquoddy Bay show some very nice examples of the way in which many…

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An Embarrassment of Riches

World Water Day, 2016 From a helicopter, the tundra ponds in Manitoba’s Hudson Bay Lowlands are countless. As World Water Day draws to  a close, here are a few images illustrating a fraction of Canada’s immense store of fresh water. World Water Day brings to the fore humanity’s concerns about fresh water, health, and environment. Canadians need to be far more aware that Canada holds about 20% of the planet’s freshwater resources; this water is critical not only…

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I haven’t been around here much lately because . . .

. . .  we have been very busy at the Museum for the past few months, and much of this busy-ness has been associated with preparing exhibits about a spectacular Cretaceous pliosaur (plesiosaur) skull that we acquired a couple of years ago. Much of my own work on the project has been more on the “paper” side of things (researching and writing the exhibit panels, working on grant proposals and budgets), but other staff at the…

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Up a Hazy River

Fieldwork in the Hudson Bay Lowlands, August 15, 2015 A grey, chilly morning at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre had us considering the weather. This was to be the last of our three “helicopter days” for 2015, so we really wanted to be out there over the horizon. But the weather forecast was not particularly promising (or rather it promised things that we’d rather it didn’t), and  mist, wind, and damp were certainly evident. Still,…

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