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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland

Fjord but not a true Fjord, a lake, fresh water with six hundred meter cliffs line the glacially carved Western Brook Pond.
The boat tour is heralded as Newfoundland most breath-taking water tour, through the dramatic Western Brook Pond fjord is a memorable experience. Carved by glaciers over a billion years ago, this 16-kilometer body of water, with a depth of 165 meters and home to Atlantic salmon, Brook trout and Artic char, as well as an unusual colony of cliff nesting gulls, happens to be Gros Morne National Park's largest lake. See waterfalls cascade from 2000 feet above and turn to mist before reaching the water below.

Live interpretation while on the tour, points out some of the geological and historical features of this wonder of nature. Visitors marvel at the rock formations that tower over the inland fjord during the boat tour. To get to the pond, it was necessary to hike a moderate three kilometer trail inland. The trail follows fragile coastal plains that were once located below sea level.

Pause for a while on the return walk to examine the variety of plant life, look for wildlife or read the interpretive panels that are located along the trail. Cotton fields abound on that hike, with native Newfoundland orchids, cloudberry or as Newfoundlanders say, bakeapple berries. While there, there were moose - at least one female grazing in swampy moors.

Ice Carves a Canyon

During the last Ice Age, glaciers flowed off the Long Range plateau more than a hundred times. Forging down valleys, each advance removed meters of rock. Over a period of more that two million years glaciers scoured the river valleys into cliff-walled troughs, such as the ravine of Western Brook Pond.

The steep escarpment of the Long Range Mountains marks a crack (or fault) in the Earth’s crust. The fault was created when continents collided in Devonian time, about 400 million years ago. The land on the far side of the fault was thrust up and over the land on this side, buckling the rocks of the lowland.

The granitic gneiss of the Long Range is the oldest rock on the island of Newfoundland (Precambrian, about 1,250 million years ago).
Bog or Marsh? The Newfoundlanders have many names for bogs, perhaps because wetlands cover so much of the cool moist island. It rains and snows and the evaporation is slow, so the soils stay moist.

“M is for mash,
Or marish or mish,
A wet grassy spot
Where your rubbers go squish.
With blackflies and bog
Aunt Bertha will grapple
Whenever she goes there
To pick the bakeapple.”
- Tom Dawe

Mosses grow on the wet soil. Piling up for thousands of years, they have formed a spongy peat that soaks up even mor water. As the mosses typical of peat bogs spread into the surrounding woodland, tree roots drown and the forest then becomes a bog. True grassy marshes are rare in Newfoundland, limited to rich sites beside streams and estuaries.

1 comment:

jadey said...

I love your pics and the articles great work.