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By Misty Crags

October 19, 2012

Stony Mountain Quarries, October 16th

In normal daylight, the old west pit at Stony Mountain is really not all that much to look at: just another post-industrial landscape. Sure, for the paleontologist or rock-hound it might be a wonderland full of slightly hidden treasures, but for the average visitor it is just another hole in the ground. Add dense fog and autumnal morning light, however, and it becomes something quite different. Instead of a worked-out quarry, one sees an idealized romantic landscape, a place of rocky crags with slopes of broken scree and pools of dark water, a place where wizened trees loom out of the mist.

Our eyes adjust slowly as we make our way down from the Jeep, treading carefully on the moist rocks and watching our step in the dim light. Which way is the deepest part of the quarry? Why does the knoll look so different? And . . . what is that moving across the distant slope? Surely it is a hound, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. No . . .  wait a minute . . .  it is just a collie out for its morning walk with a raincoat-clad owner . . . Oh well, that is probably for the best. Still, this morning this is a place where the great Grimpen Mire cannot be at all far away.

Enough of these notions. Time to crawl around and look at some fossils.

There are places where the misty light really enhances the appearance of the outcrop. Here, there is a vividness to the colours of the Gunn Member (red, below) and Penitentiary Member (yellow, above) of the Upper Ordovician Stony Mountain Formation (I haven’t really enhanced any of these photos very much; this is the way it looked that morning).

Mouldic examples of the brachiopod Diceromyonia storeya in the Penitentiary Member (coin diameter 28.5 mm)

A coiled cephalopod in the Gunton Member (maybe Charactoceras)

Large ripples of the ancient seafloor stand up from modern sediment that infills their troughs.

© Graham Young, 2012

If you would like to know more about the geology of Stony Mountain, information can be found in:

YOUNG, G.A., R.J. ELIAS, S. WONG, AND E.P. DOBRZANSKI. 2008. Upper Ordovician Rocks and Fossils in Southern Manitoba. Canadian Paleontology Conference, Field Trip Guidebook No. 13, CPC-2008 Winnipeg, The Manitoba Museum, 19-21 September 2008, 97 p.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter Lee permalink
    October 20, 2012 5:45 am

    Wonderful post Graham…. great photography as usual! ( I like the fossil images )

  2. mambolica permalink
    October 20, 2012 1:12 pm

    You know what these photos are missing? Mordor. It should be looming blackly and fog-enshrouded.

    • Graham permalink*
      October 20, 2012 4:48 pm

      Maya, does this mean that I need to photoshop it in??

  3. October 20, 2012 2:07 pm

    Is that what a Manitoba mountain looks like?
    Beautiful pictures, Graham. Those brachiopod Diceromyonia storeya moulds are very cool.

    • Graham permalink*
      October 20, 2012 4:49 pm

      Karen, a “mountain” is a relative thing. Stony Mountain is mountainous only in comparison with the rest of the Red River Valley!

  4. October 21, 2012 8:26 pm

    enjoyed the scenery — I love fog!

    • Graham permalink*
      October 28, 2012 10:18 am

      Thank you, Hollis!

  5. David Greenwood permalink
    October 27, 2012 7:26 pm

    Hi Graham

    Nice pics! No deerstalker hats to pursue the hound?

    • Graham permalink*
      October 27, 2012 11:25 pm

      Thanks, David. How do you know I wasn’t wearing a deerstalker?

      • David Greenwood permalink
        October 31, 2012 7:08 pm

        Its elementary …

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