Newfoundland Day 6 – Gros Morne National Park

Today we returned to Newfoundland to visit Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the western edge of the island. It was a little cooler today, staying in the 50’s and drizzling all afternoon.

The morning was spent at Woody Point. We visited the Discovery Center and learned some more of the geology of the park. Newfoundland was created about 500 million years ago when two tectonic plates collided: Laurencia and Gwandana land. This was the collision between the old North American Plate and what has become present day Morocco. This collision created the Appalachian Mountain range, which ends here in Newfoundland. So western Newfoundland has some very old rocks from nearly 2 billion years ago that were part of Laurencia and 500 million year old rocks created during the collision. One of the unusual things that happened here is a chunk of the mantle of the earth (the layer under the crust), was pushed on top and is now exposed as the Tablelands. These are barren, flat-topped, red-rock mountains. The rocks are red because they contain lots of iron, which has rusted. They are barren because they are full of heavy metals (zinc, magnesium, nickel, etc), which create a soil toxic to most plants. Several species of carnivorous plants do survive in the area, as they are able to get some nutrients from insects.

This area was studied extensively in the late 1960’s and convincing evidence was found to support the tectonic plate theory.

The afternoon was spent at Norris Point, where we took a long walk through an ex-fjord. It is not a fjord today because the land has risen since the last ice age and is no longer flooded by salt water (a requirement to be a fjord). It drizzled on us all afternoon, but we had our rain gear so it was no problem.

Dinner was fresh lobster from yesterday’s stop at Iles de la Madeleine. Yummy!

Woody Point at Gros Morne Nat. Park:Woody Point in Gros Morne National ParkThe Tablelands rising above the newer mountains:
Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park Standing on rocks from the mantle of the earth:Standing on Rocks from the Mantle A pitcher plant waiting for a bug to fall in (dinner):Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Halfway through our wet walk:Halfway Point on a Rainy 4 mi Walk

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