Joggins is a Canadian rural community located in western Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. On July 7, 2008 a 15 km length of the coast constituting the Joggins Fossil Cliffs was officially inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The area was known to the Mi'kmaq as "Chegoggins" meaning place of the large fish weir, a named modified by French and English settlers to Joggins. Situated on the Cumberland Basin, a sub-basin of the Bay of Fundy, Joggins was a long established coal mining area. Its coal seams which are exposed along the shore of the Cumberland Basin were exploited as early as 1686 by local Acadian settlers and by the British garrison at Annapolis Royal
in 1715. The first commercial mine was set up by Major Henry Cope in 1731, but was destroyed by the Mi'kmaq in November 1732. Samuel McCully opened a mine in 1819 with much of his production being shipped by sea to Saint John, New Brunswick and other markets, but went out of business in 1821 having mined less than 600 tons.
Large-scale industrialization came to Cumberland County under the General Mining Association, which held the rights to the area's coal fields. Commencing at Joggins in 1847, production increased after the construction of the Intercolonial Railway in the 1870s, followed by the 1887 opening of the Joggins Railway, a 12-mile rail line from mines at Joggins to the Intercolonial mainline at Maccan, through River Hebert. Joggins has been known for its fossils since the early 19th century. The fossils are found in the exposed Pennsylvanian coal seams in the cliffs that overlook the shore. The fossils consist mainly of ferns, prehistoric trees and early sea life.
The daily high tide erodes the cliff, the stone fossils fall out of the coal and are left on the shore when the tide recedes. Fossils have also been found in the area deep shaft mines and in drilling core samples hundreds of feet down. Joggins is one of the easiest places in the world to find early Pennsylvanian coal fossils. In 2008, the Joggins Fossil Cliffs were designated as a UNESCO natural heritage site. A fossil centre museum was built on the fossil cliff to display the fossils.
World Heritage Site
In 2007, a 14.7 km length of the coast constituting the Joggins Fossil Cliffs was nominated by Canada
to UNESCO as a natural World Heritage Site. It was officially inscribed on the World Heritage List in on July 7, 2008.