Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Geology’ category

Western Brook Pond

Wednesday afternoon, July 24, 2019

One of the highlights of the park is a cruise up Western Brook Pond. There is a 45-minute walk in. They want to make sure you get your exercise in Gros Morne! We were almost last in line, and watched people scramble for seats on top, the front of the boat and the rear. We were left with inside seats, not the best for taking pictures. After a short while, I found a spot up front, which was fine.

This fiord was made first by colliding of tectonic plates and then carved out by multiple glaciers. There was an opening to the sea at first, but then closed off. Our narrator said this is some of the purest water on Earth. There are very few nutrients here, so there are no fish. Magnificent cliff walls line the fiord with waterfalls in many places, one being called Pissing Mare Falls.

Our narrator pointed out a rock slide that occurred at a precise time on a certain date. They knew because a tour boat was traveling by. They had given us emergency instructions at the beginning of the cruise. Now I could see the possibility of a bad emergency in this very cold water. 

The last 20 minutes of the ride became a music festival, as our guide played Newfoundland music while he played the spoons, and then passed several pair around for others to try. Martha took right to it. 

As we got off the boat, several boys pointed out trout sitting under the docks, and there were some big ones.

Geology Lecture

_1GW1905

Green Point and was our view in back of our campsite

_1GW1912

Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

At 10:00 we went to Green Point to hear a geology lecture. Chris Rohrback gave the talk, and she was great. She has a way of making a difficult subject simpler and fun. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. “The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.” (Centre, UNESCO World Heritage).

Gros Morne became a national park 1973, but it was for the geological studies that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex nature of a tremendous upheaval a billion years ago made for a lifetime study by Robert Stevens and Harold Williams, who established the concept of tectonic plate movement. 

This site offers a unique, exposed view of the plates turned vertical so you can readily see all the layers. Chris explained how the world was one supercontinent, before Africa and Europe pulled away, drifting to the east, leaving parts of Africa and Spain along the east coast of Newfoundland. Parts of these Appalachian Mountains went with Europe and can still be seen today.

These mountains were the size of the Himalayas. Thousands of years of erosion have reduced their size, and glaciers gouged out U-shaped valleys, pushing boulders all the way to the ocean and this beach. There are layers of sediment, shale (compacted mud), limestone, soapstone and whatever the other one was. “Here geologists discovered fossils that define the boundary between the Cambrian and Ordovician periods and makes Green Point a world geological benchmark.” (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/activ/decouverte-tours/gp)

_1GW1914

_1GW1915

Once a thriving fishing village, there are many restrictions today.

_1GW1916

_1GW1917

One or two still fish from this great spot

_1GW1918_1GW1921_1GW1922_1GW1923_1GW1925_1GW1926