Bullmoose Mine donates Fossils to Tumbler Ridge
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
with a specimen of cycads, donated by Bullmoose
mine for display
in the Museum exhibit.