A Return to Sloop Cove

Sloop Cove, Churchill, Manitoba: August, 2015 Some years ago, I wrote a post that included images of some of the 18th century graffiti at Sloop Cove, which is on the west shore of the Churchill River estuary opposite Churchill. This turned out to be a topic of interest to quite a few people, and I always intended to follow up with more of the words and images that are scratched and carved into the hard…

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The Bones of the Earth

Rivière-du-Loup, Québec: August, 2018 This summer, while walking on the shore at Rivière-du-Loup, I was struck by the way in which the spectacular steeply-dipping sedimentary beds “dive” and become submerged beneath the scarp on one side and the water on the other, disappearing as they are covered by overburden or waves. This got me thinking about human perception, and our general lack of appreciation for the hidden geology beneath us. La Pointe outcrop at Rivière-du-Loup…

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The Other Side

Saint Andrews, New Brunswick: August, 2018 Basalt and seaweed at Bar Road, Saint Andrews If you travel in the natural world, you have probably noticed places where the bedrock seems to vary drastically and dramatically over a short distance. Perhaps you have seen a place where rocks of different colours are abutted against one another, or where bedrock textures and lineations change. In some cases, this may represent a variation in the deposition of ancient sediments…

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Ghost Streams on the Shore

Saint Andrews, New Brunswick: August, 2018 Beds of the Perry Formation in Pottery Cove, Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Rocks are physical ghosts. If a ghost is a disembodied spirit or a nebulous image of a deceased person, bedrock is a concrete relic of the lost place and time in which it was formed. Geologists and non-geologists, we each interpret rocks in our own way. Those of us who like to collect may get excited about sedimentary…

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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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