Bonnechere Museum | Eganville Ontario

Fossils & Geological History

Our Bonnechere history is written on stone, wood, paper and the hearts of those who love the Bonnechere valley. The stone records include fossils. A fossil (the word is from the Latin fossilis, meaning "dug up") is an impression, or the actual remains of an animal or plant preserved in rock.

Our major fossils are from the Ordovician time period, a time when North America was drifting away from the equator and the outlines of billions of small animals and plants were preserved in the sedimentary rock formed in the seas that covered much of this landscape. The Ordovician geologic period was first described by Charles Lapworth in 1879 based on rocks located in the original lands of the Ordovices and was named after them.

The study of fossils is called palaeontology. Palaeontologists are able to describe much of the geological history of a region from fossil remains.

The museum has a collection of fossils and encourages people to find their own samples by holding fossils hunts which grow more popular every year. Donated fossils are welcome and enhance our collection

Geoheritage Trail/Map

A geologically rich trail leads you to an exhibit of rock types, a limestone quarry, a dug trench, a riverview walk and fossils.

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Geo Brochure 2015
Download: Bonnechere Museum Geo Brochure 2015
Geoheritage Trail Walk
Tours: Self Directed: get a guide-chart at the museum OR Guided Tour: click on menu item "Events" for tour...
Fossil Hunts
Fossil Hunts start at the Bonnechere Museum at 10 AM: Information Walkabout Fossil Search
When Continents Collide

Slow-motion video footage of the Ottawa Valley’s past would have captured the formation and
disappearance of great mountain ranges and ice sheets, accompanied by massive earthquakes and
floods, interspersed with long periods of warm, shallow seas.

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Bonnechere Museum's Fossil Collection


These narrow skeletal-like creatures lived nearly 400 million years ago. They floated on the surface of the ocean forming fragile, often branching skeletons.

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Fossils: Four Questions And Answers

What Are Fossils?
Where Do Fossils Come From?
How Are Fossils Formed?
Where Can I See Some Of These Fossils?

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The Ordovician Period (438 to 510 Million Years Ago)

The Ordovician period began approximately 438 million years ago, with the end of the Cambrian, and ended around 510 million years ago, with the beginning of the Silurian.

The Ordovician is best known for the presence of its diverse marine invertebrates, including graptolites, trilobites, brachiopods, and the conodonts (early vertebrates). A typical marine community consisted of these animals, plus red and green algae, primitive fish, cephalopods, corals, crinoids, and gastropods.

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Geologic Time

Geologic Time is subdivided into a number of categories.

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Natural History of The Bonnechere Valley

Source: Clyde Kennedy, The Upper Ottawa Valley

Glaciation and climate change shaped the Bonnechere Valley. The weight of mile-thick ice compressed the land, pushing it towards the earth’s crust and below the existing sea level. When the Wisconsin glacier receded, the land gradually rose, but not before the Atlantic Ocean swept in from the east, flooding the Ottawa Valley and the lower Bonnechere Valley, creating a branch of the ocean known as the Champlain Sea which lasted from about 11,000 to 9,500 years ago.

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