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Quebec, Canada



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Paleontology and geology

The Precambrian: The majority of the rocks in Quebec are Precambrian in age. They form part of the Canadian Shield, the core of the North American continent. These igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks record millions of years of continental collisions and break ups, ancient volcanic islands, and pieces of oceanic crust. Quebec contains some of the oldest rocks known on the surface of the Earth, as well as fossils of stromatolites.

The Paleozoic: As part of the continent, northern and central Quebec were exposed above sea level throughout the Paleozoic. Southeastern Quebec was part of the continental shelf and covered by shallow to deep waters that teemed with trilobites, brachiopods, echinoderms, corals, and many other invertebrates. In the Devonian, the shallow seas were filled with many different kinds of early fish, some of which provide important clues about how vertebrates moved onto land. From time to time, the seas over the southeast were so shallow that the water evaporated, leaving deposits of salt and gypsum. Shallow seas also flooded the middle of the continent several times, leaving deposits in small areas of western Quebec. As the supercontinent Pangea came together toward the end of this era, Quebec was near the center. The shallow seas drained away, and many of the rocks were eroded.

The Mesozoic: Quebec was above sea level through the Mesozoic. Erosion has removed any rocks deposited during this time, with one exception: the impact crater left by a large asteroid that hit central Quebec in the Triassic.

The Cenozoic: Erosion continued to strip away deposits during the Tertiary. In the Quaternary, Quebec was alternately covered by glaciers, forests, and tundra. The glaciers scraped and gouged the exposed bedrock and shaped much of the modern landscape. They picked up and re-deposited sediments around the province. After the glaciers melted, the coastal areas were flooded by marine waters, and fossils of marine invertebrates and vertebrates can be found high above current sea level.

Links to more on Quebec paleontology

Organizations | Education and Exhibits | Resources


Parks (showing 2 of 2 listings)

Miguasha Park, Quebec, a Canada World Heritage Site: The fossiliferous beds of the Escuminac Formation yield over 21 species of Devonian fish, including beautifully preserved placoderms. This site provides a short description and some photos.

Miguasha National Park: This site provides all one needs to know before visiting the park -- its fossils, services, accomodations, etc.

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Societies and Clubs (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Geological Association of Canada's Paleontology Division: The division's activities, publications, and goals.

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Museums (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Redpath Museum, McGill University: The museum has a permanent display on the geological history and biological diversity of Quebec. It also has a respectable collection of plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate Canadian fossils.

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Education and Exhibits

Virtual Exhibits (showing 2 of 2 listings)

Virtual Fossil Museum's Trilobites of Canada: Photos and information about exceptional trilobite fossils from Canada.

The Dawn of Animal Life: While most people know of the dinosaurs from a mere 70 million years ago, very few are aware that the Earth's fossil record stretches over 3 billion years into the past. Using exclusively Canadian rocks and fossils, this exhibit highlights almost three billion years of early evolution when only simple, soft-bodied creatures inhabited the Earth.

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Physical Exhibits (showing 2 of 2 listings)

Biodome de Montreal: The Fossil Affair: An interactive permanent exhibition on rocks and fossils and the great adventure of Life.

Canadian Museum of Nature: Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery: A unique look at the dramatic events that led to the extinction of dinosaurs and rise of mammals through a 50-million-year slice of time. See 300 amazing specimens; three-quarters of the fossils are real, a remarkably high number for public display.

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General Reference (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Enchanted Learning's Dinosaur Fossils Found in Canada: A list of dinosaurs found in Canada, by province.

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