Fern Ledges and Marie Stopes, Part II

Dr. Randall Miller Research Curator, Geology and Palaeontology New Brunswick Museum

New Brunswick Museum
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Stratigraphers at the time thought the age of the rocks was Devonian based on the structure of the rocks, but the palaeobotanists thought it was Upper Carboniferous, a typical coal age flora, and they argued about it from 1860 until about 1900. Finally in 1913 there was an International Geological Congress and a field trip was coming here and the Geological Survey of Canada, whose people were working on this, they decided they needed to resolve the issue. So they brought in an outside specialist. Marie Stopes, who was a palaeobotanist, one of the few women working in that field in the early 1900s, and she wrote a classic palaeobotanical monograph about this place, re-identifying all the plant fossils and outlining the Carboniferous age of these particular rocks. Marie Stopes is an interesting character.

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