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Welcome to

ChondritesThis website shares information on the ichnological
and related studies conducted by the MUN ichnology group.

Our research focuses on the theme of reservoir ichnology. We are interested in the application of ichnology to study of paleoenvironmental/facies analysis and the impact of burrowing on all types of hydrocarbon reservoirs from conventional sandstones to shale gas. 

Latest News

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Latest Ichno Articles

  • A Trichophycus hunt

    Another grand day out on Bell Island, though a little on the nippy side at -10oC.

    Stimulated by Dario wanting to collect a bentonite (to help with stratigraphic correlations), and me feeling the need to initiate Tiff into the department with some fieldwork, we had a grand day out.

     grebes nest

    Bell Island was doing a good impression of Spitzbergen today with icy winds off the ocean, rocks glazed in rime and icicles hanging off the cliffs, but somehow you don't notice so much when there are trace fossils to see (well I don't anyways).

     Sampling of a thin bentonite, the weapon of choice being a key according to Dario, went smoothly enough. It appears to be a mafic bentonite, so there are a couple of possible local sources. Greg Dunning is going to help us with the fingerprinting if there are no datable zircons apatites etc.

     Then on to one of my favourite places to show off ichnology, Grebes Nest.  We had a happy couple of hours poking about, discovering in the process a hybrid Rosselia/Asterosoma/Zoophycos trace which has me scratching my head.  I added to my growing collection of Trichichnus/Polykladichnus (I think I might need some help with kicking that particular foible).  Perhaps when Adirenne Noftall has finished with her reconstructions I will be happier to leave them in the field.

  • Ichnology of the Winterhouse Formation

    Highlights of a short ichnological exploration of the Winterhouse Formation at Long Point on the Port au Port Peninsula, western Newfoundland.


    The Winterhouse Formation is of Late Ordovician age, sitting in the Long Point Group between the Lourdes and Misty Point Formations.  We have been interested in the unit as it sits around the oil window, and there has been some prior work on the palaeontology Bergstrom 1974 and palynology Gillespie 1998 (unpublished MSc thesis Memorial University- helen still works here in the CREAIT facility).  I saw my first Receptaculites which was a suprise.  I am kind of intrigued by them- it is ages since I came across a type of fossil I have never even heard of.

  • Alfie the accidental ichnologist


    This is a story about the short but productive period that Alfie the alpheid shrimp (Alpheus bellulus) spent as a member of our group.

    Alfie, as he was named by Michael Garton, came to us in a plastic bag on a flight from Vancouver from an aquarium to be our startunnel building shrimp.  It was only once he arrived that we discovered that Alpheus bellulus is not a burrowing species.  Many species of Alpheus are, but this one is not.  This was to be one of the centrepieces of Chris Phillip's thesis, but it was not to be (Chris subsequently moved on to thalassinid shrimps with better success).

    Alfie came with a number of buddies in the bag, but they proved to be somewhat feisty with one another when released into the lab mesocosms so  I adopted him and moved him into the tank in my office.  At about this time Michael Garton was visiting in the midst of thesis submission and he shared my office with me and Alfie.

  • Discovery of the oldest trace fossils?


    One of our own, Alex Liu, has hit the headlines this week with the publication of his discovery of trace fossils in the Mistaken Point Formation at Mistaken Point itself (which is near Cape Race, Portugal Cove South, on the southern tip of the Avalon Peninsula, about 2.5 hrs drive from MUN).  Alex has a real eye for discovering fossils, which-when combined with his dedication to fieldwork-has led him to unearth new finds from localities thoughout the Avalon and Bonavista areas in localities that have been considered to be "done to death".

    Alex made the discovery in the summer of 2008 while he was a visiting student with us at MUN (he is co-supervised by Martin Brasier at Oxford University and myself). 

  • Bradore and Hawke Bay fieldwork


    Congratulations to Dr. Richard Callow on being appointed as postdoc to a short project supported by the Petroleum Exploration Enhancement Program.

    rich Liam portauport

    Rich has been in the field this month studying the type sections of the Bradore Formation in Labrador and on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland.