For a moment, allow your imagination to take you back in time from the lush, green forests of today, back 270-350 million years ago to the Carboniferous era. It was a time before dinosaurs existed on earth. Some of the plants that flourished on earth during that time can be found preserved in a fossilized form for us to see today.
A fossil is the remains of prehistoric life preserved in rock. Fossils can be found in different forms: original remains, replaced remains, carbonization, molds or casts, amber encased organisms, and trace fossils.
Carbonization occurs when the remains of an organism are completely encased by very fine sediments. Over time, the pressure of the sediments above squeeze out the liquid and gaseous components of the organism and leaves behind a very thin film of carbon. The carbon film is an exact copy of what the original organism looked like. In rare cases, the actual unchanged remains of plants or animals may be preserved in rock.
Sydney Mines is home to a fossil forest that rivals Joggins. Visit the Cape Breton Fossil Discovery Centre and explore our 350 million year old heritage that formed the Sydney coalfields.
The Fossil Interpretive Centre offers visitors a unique hands-on learning experience. Featuring a large collection of fossils from Cape Breton and elsewhere, visitors get a first-hand look at the past.
Sydney Mines is one of eight important fossil sites in Nova Scotia, and is known internationally for excellent examples of plant fossils. Our community showcases the rich deposits found in the Sydney Coalfields. These Coalfields extend 21 miles along the Cape Breton coast dipping under the Atlantic Ocean.
Shales and sandstone of the coal fields produced fossils from 300 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period. A walk along the shoreline near Sydney Mines uncovers many treasures from an era when Cape Breton Island was close to the equator, including impressions of fern leaves, bamboo-like plants and trunks of extinct trees standing upright above the coal.