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William Dawson

Sir William Dawson’s name is peppered through the historical accounts of geological exploration in New Brunswick. Dawson built a reputation as a leading authority on fossil plants. The author of more than 400 scientific papers and a groundbreaking geologist and paleobotanist, Dawson was destined to become the first Canadian-born scientist of international stature.

Dawson was intimately involved with the fossil discoveries at Joggins, in his home province of Nova Scotia. Many rocks on the New Brunswick coast of the Bay of Fundy are also Upper Carboniferous age and Dawson examined the geology here as well. Dawson compiled much of the existing geologic research on the Maritime Provinces into his book Acadian Geology, published in 1855. When he published a second edition of the book in 1868 he worked closely with Saint John geologists George Matthew and Fred Hartt to include the geological stories of Coal Age in New Brunswick.