What you’re looking, at the image on the right, is not just a rock in Newfoundland. It tells quite a story. Uplifting of an ancient sea bed some 470 million years ago unveiled the underlying mantle of the earth. As one of the only places in the world where it’s possible to see the earth’s mantle, Newfoundland is of interest to scientists and geologists like.
Although I took this picture on a mountain, it’s a snapshot of an ancient Atlantic sea bed, that was flipped up, way up, as it smashed into the North American plate. Ykes. And here I was standing at the scene of the crime, the collision of two continents!
Newfoundland is one of those out-of-the-way places.
You have to want to get there. You have to make a special effort. It’s not part of the eastern megalopolis- small towns, quite roads, out there. It’s like New Hampshire used to be in the ‘50’s-safe, trusting and amicable. Not wired. I was there a few years ago, on a whim. I’d just finished an Outward Bound Professional staff training in Northern Maine and decided to take a trip. I made the decision at 5PM and started driving at 5:15, headed from Old Town, Maine for New Brunswick. I had my sleeping bag, but no stove, no tent, but a toothbrush. My friend and I had a van, but no mosquito netting, which proved problematic. We picked up on old reliable Coleman stove at a second hand store, and were in business.
Newfoundland has been the scene of a geological flashpoint. There’s a roadside pullout, with a beautiful half hour walk. At the pullout are some informational plaques explaining that the location was a meeting point where the Atlantic and North American plates met millions of years ago. As I stared at the surface of the inlay, I imagined it as soft muck on the ocean floor. I felt like a geological time explorer.
If you’ve not studied geology, or taken a class in it, I highly recommend it. It gives you the sense of time through a different lens, of roadside cuts, pebbles on the beach, or glacial erratics, (large glacier deposited boulders) in New England fields. More on glaciers in another post though.
Uplifting of an ancient sea bed some 470 million years ago unveiled the underlying mantle of the earth. As one of the only places in the world where it’s possible to see the earth’s mantle, Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, is considered to be of geological importance and for that reason was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The whole of Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is steeped in intriguing history and geology but Tablelands (contained within the park) is of the most interest to many geologists and scientists.