Bullmoose Mine donates Fossils to Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2003

Following the April 4 closure of the Bullmoose mine, the workers at the mine recovered several fossil and geological specimens that had been accumulating thoughout the 20-year lifespan of the mine and made the decision to donate the specimens to the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation (TRMF).

On April 21, geologist Kevin Sharman, Environmental Coordinator at Bullmoose mine, presented Carolyn Golightly, President of the TRMF, with more than two dozen specimens, which the Museum Foundation will catalogue and display once temporary exhibit space in Tumbler Ridge is established. One piece in particular contains large and distinct impressions of cycads – a type of leafy vegetation – embedded in an 80-pound slab of shale. Other smaller pieces of rock containing fossils of redwood, ferns, seed-ferns and petrified wood provide evidence of the habitat at the time the dinosaurs roamed.

Sharman explains the relationship between plants such as these and the coal history of Tumbler Ridge. "The specimens were discovered in the rock layers between coal seams, indicating that rocks were deposited in fresh water. This whole area was, at one time, swampy coastal plain and, as vegetation accumulated and was buried under layers of mud, sand and gravel, the weight of the sediment squeezed out the water and, over time, changed the chemical structure of the plant matter into coal."

Teck Cominco’s Bullmoose operation began mining in Tumbler Ridge in 1983; some 35 million tones of coal later, they have closed their doors and the mine site is presently being dismantled and reclaimed as a wildlife habitat. The Museum plans to feature coal mining, and its role in the town’s history, in its exhibits. Specimens such as these help us to understand the relationship between the plants that grew millions of years ago and the coal that created this community.

Kevin Sharman presents Museum Foundation president Carolyn Golightly
with a specimen of cycads, donated by Bullmoose mine for display in the Museum exhibit.

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