Explore & Discover


The world's smallest dinosaur footprint is the size of a penny.

The first known fossil of this footprint - which belongs to a dinosaur called Coelophysis, roughly the size of a sparrow - is on view at the Parrsboro Rock and Mineral Shop Museum in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The shop, founded in 1948, is Canada's oldest registered rock shop and its proprietor, Eldon Thomas George, a local hero, 2013 Order of Nova Scotia recipient, and "rockstar" in the geologic field for this and other history-making finds.


Stilbite - Wasson's Bluff, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia

The Bay of Fundy has been known for it's fine specimens of minerals that belong to the chemical family known as zeolites. Stilbite is an important member of this family.

The Bay of Fundy zeolites form in the North Mountain Basalt that rims much of the bay. It was formed by volcanic eruptions about 195 million years ago along a failed rift system during the break-up of the super-continent, Pangaea. At that time, Nova Scotia was near the centre of the continent. The climate was hot and arid, much like those of modern desert regions in the Middle East and North Africa today. As the continent began to break up, molten rock welled up from below and flooded a large area of what is now the Bay of Fundy region in multiple flows. Although theories of zeolite formation vary, it is widely thought that the minerals formed as heated ground water and water that was trapped in the lava reacted with the newly formed basalt rocks, dissolving calcium, sodium, potassium, aluminum and silicon, and redepositing them as new zeolite minerals in fractures and gas cavities in the hardened lava. These minerals have been exposed through the relentless action of the Fundy tides on the basalt rocks as water infiltrating fractures in the rock loosens and exposes blocks, aided by the yearly freezing-thaw cycle and the pounding surf.

Stilbite is one of the most distinctive zeolite family minerals found along the Bay of Fundy. Superb specimens can be found in museums and major collections around the world, and are among the best of their kind. The famous mineralogist, James D. Dana, listed Partridge Island as one of the most important stilbite localities in his famous Systems of Mineralogy textbook. This classic text is widely regarded as the first comprehensive modern scientific work on mineralogy and "Dana localities" are regarded as the standard to which all others are measured.