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Lepreau Falls Provincial Park

The rocks at Lepreau Falls Provincial Park belong to the Mabou Group and are likely Early Carboniferous age, about 325 to 315 million years old. The reddish purple sandstone, shale and conglomerate were once deposited as sediments along a river or shoreline. Very few fossils are found in these rocks and their age has been difficult to determine. Fossils are usually the buried remains of animals and plants, preserved as petrified body remains, a cast or a mould. Fossils can also be traces made by organisms, such as footprint trackways left by animals walking across the mud. A rare occurrence of a tetrapod trackway was discovered at Lepreau Falls in 1974. A tetrapod is a four-legged animal. An amphibian made the footprints. At least two sets of footprints were found, with a groove down the middle made by the tail, as the animal walked across a wet surface. Trace fossils provide scientific information about behaviour. How fast did the animal walk? Did it travel alone or in a herd? When they were first discovered, geological information at the time indicated the rocks here were from the Triassic Period (251 to 199 million years ago). They are now believed to be Early Carboniferous age rocks.

A beautiful waterfall erodes the rock here. Rocks are worn away by the action of water slowly breaking down the layers into smaller and smaller pieces. During the winter, ice and frost will also break down the rock. As the rocks are slowly worn down the sand and mud will be washed out into the Bay of Fundy. They will eventually become sedimentary rocks again as part the recycling of the Earth’s crust.