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Albert Mines Transcript


Dr. Randall Miller, Research Curator, Geology and Palaeontology, New Brunswick Museum

This is part of the headframe and processing structure at Albert Mines. This is about all that’s left of a community that was extremely busy in the late 1800s. It was here that they mined albertite. Albertite is a bitumen named after Albert County where it was found, and it was used in the production of kerosene. Abraham Gesner, the first Provincial Geologist in New Brunswick is often credited with developing a process to distill kerosene, he is often thought of as a founder of the modern petroleum industry.  Albert Mines has been famous for albertite but it’s also well known because of the fish fossils that have been found here in the shales. These are oil shales that were deposited at the bottom of a lake about 350 million years ago, and have produced some really interesting fossils, very few plants, but lots of fish. The fish are remains of palaeoniscid fish, these are early bony fish. In the Albert shale complete specimens of palaeoniscid fish have been found although they are pretty rare. It’s more common when you split open the shales to find fragments of fish, or quite often isolated scales that are in the coprolites.  It’s hard to imagine that foundations like this are all that left of a once busy community. If you look at some of the archival photographs of this place, there was a church here, a school, a mine managers house, a headframe that you can see in the picture, which is where I am probably sitting, and community buildings for the workers who lived here.