It’s 2011 and we’ll start the new year with the first article in our new “52 reasons” series. As you know, this year the Bay of Fundy might get elected as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature, which is why we’ll reveal one enticing reason to visit the Bay of Fundy every week, for an entire year! First up: Rockhounding!

The Bay of Fundy is a true rockhounder’s paradise. As Fundy’s giant tides erode the towering sea cliffs and wash the shores, many interesting rocks, zeolites and semi-precious stones are revealed daily.

Cliffs at Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia

Cliffs at Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia. Via Scotian Hiker

Along the shores near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, mineral treasures such as amethyst and agate are common finds. Parrsboro is also home to the Fundy Geological Museum where visitors have the opportunity to examine mineral terminals as well as to view some of the oldest dinosaur bones in Canada and the world’s first reptiles.

In New Brunswick’s Fundy National Park discover two tale-telling rock formations. While the beige and grey rocks found around Owls Head are made of sandstone, the volcanic rocks at Point Wolfe tell of the shifting of the continents and are comprised of white quartz veins, swirling folds and criss-crossing fractures. The oldest rocks in the park can be found at Point Wolfe. The Caledonia Highlands, which date back to the Ice Age, are also found in Fundy National Park.

Stonehammer Geopark

Recently, in the Fall of 2010, a region surrounding Saint John, New Brunswick, became the first UNESCO recognized Geopark in North America. The Stonehammer Geopark extends east from the Fundy Trail Parkway to west at the Lepreau Falls and continues inland as far as Norton, Hampton and Grand Bay-Westfield.

Fundy Trail Stonehammer Geopark
Fundy Trail Stonehammer Geopark

Stonehammer’s tagline is “A Billion Years of Stories” and this couldn’t be more true. From an observation deck along Saint John’s Harbour Passage, visitors can look across the Reversing Rapids gorge to see two continents that collided thousands of years ago. Looking across the gorge, the rocks on the left are from the Cambrian period (approximately 500 million years old) and the light grey rocks on the right are from the Precambrian age (750 million-1.2 billion years old).

Stonehammer contains rocks from nearly all of the geologic eras except the Tertiary and Jurassic periods. Other Stonehammer Geopark attractions include the Irving Nature Park, Rockwood Park, Dominion Park, Tucker Park, Fort Howe and King Square West. There are over 200 possible sites of geological significance in this 2800km2 zone.

You might also want to check out the Top 10 geological attractions in the Bay of Fundy. This article is part of our “52 Reasons” series, so check out the next reason: Loyalist Heritage. We also encourage you take a look at the overview of all the articles in this series and to use our RSS feed so you won’t miss any further articles!

9 comments received

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    Anne Rosenthal

    Would like to know how to get to the St. John’s rock, formations, and Bay Fundy


    I have found many quarz looking rocks…i need to know if i have gold…

    Joseph Tattersall

    My wife found a nice chunk 2 inch long 1 inch diameter of amethyst at duck pond beach NB this weekend!


      Was this on Campobello Island??

    M'Lissa Smith

    I am an amateur rockhound and have always been so attracted to gems/minerals/rocks. My home is decorated with a wide variety. Met a gentleman from NS at the Denver Gem & Mineral show last year & listened with great interest to his Bay of Fundy stories! I have to visit your wondrous area or my life just may not be full! When is the prime time to visit for rock hunting??
    Thank you kindly,
    M’Lissa Smith
    Littleton, CO

    Melanie Elliott

    Do you have a transportion service that would enable us seniors to access Amethyst Cove. What are your fees for two persons? It is understood the tide is dependent in that area.
    Melanie Elliott, Halifax
    [email protected]

    Meghan Purdy

    im looking for a good place to go rock hunting in the next two weeks. i will be at a campground in debert, ns. Can u point me in the direction of somewhere to rock hunt near debert? thanks


      Go to Parsborro, like it mentions in the above article. It’s an hour away from Debert. I know I’m going to take my son there at some point before the summer’s end since I had no clue what I was doing rock hounding in Blomidon, NS. Still found an amethyst, even so. 😉

      Janice Cohoon

      Hi I have a question. At Hampton Beach, Annapolis County there is a woman who lives near there that takes it upon herself to tell people that they can’t take a few rock treasures from the beach. I see that in the year 2000 that it became against the law to remove anything from the beaches of N.S. but surely this does not include general public collecting a few rocks but stops people from taking rocks by the truck loads?
      I hope someone can tell me it’s still ok to do beach combing or rock hounding? I’ve done this all my life.
      Thanks Janice

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