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Gros Morne National Park

Gros Morne National Park

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Gros Morne National Park is a world heritage site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 located on the west coast of Newfoundland
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

. At 1805 km² (696.9 sq mi), it is the second largest national park
National park
A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently A national park is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or...

 in Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada
Atlantic Canada is the region of Canada comprising the four provinces located on the Atlantic coast, excluding Quebec: the three Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia – and Newfoundland and Labrador...

 (surpassed by Torngat Mountains National Park at 9600 km² (3,706.6 sq mi)).

The park takes its name from Newfoundland's second-highest mountain peak (at 2,644 ft/806 m) located within the park. Its French meaning is "large mountain standing alone," or more literally "great sombre." Gros Morne is a member of the Long Range Mountains
Long Range Mountains
The Long Range Mountains are a series of mountains along the west coast of the Canadian island of Newfoundland. They also form the northernmost section of the Appalachian chain on the eastern seaboard of North America...

, an outlying range of the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

, stretching the length of the island's west coast. 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."

The Gros Morne National Park Reserve was established in 1973. It wasn't until October 1, 2005 that the National Parks Act was applied to the reserve, thereby making it a Canadian national park.

The park was the subject of a short film in 2011's National Parks Project
National Parks Project
The National Parks Project is a Canadian music and film project. Released in 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks of Canada system, the project sent three Canadian musicians and a filmmaker to each of 13 Canadian national parks, one in each province and...

, directed by Sturla Gunnarsson
Sturla Gunnarsson
Sturla Gunnarsson is a Canadian film director.Gunnarsson was born in Iceland in 1951. He moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, with his parents when he was seven years old. As he grew up he became interested in filmmaking and went to the University of British Columbia where he completed...

 and scored by Melissa Auf der Maur
Melissa Auf der Maur
Melissa Auf der Maur is a Canadian rock musician from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Her career has included 5 years as bassist with the band Hole and she later toured with The Smashing Pumpkins for their 2000 tour. Her second solo album, Out of Our Minds, was released on March 30, 2010. She is also a...

, Sam Shalabi and Jamie Fleming.

Geology


The park's rock formations, made famous by Robert Stevens and Harold Williams, include oceanic crust
Oceanic crust
Oceanic crust is the part of Earth's lithosphere that surfaces in the ocean basins. Oceanic crust is primarily composed of mafic rocks, or sima, which is rich in iron and magnesium...

 and mantle
Mantle (geology)
The mantle is a part of a terrestrial planet or other rocky body large enough to have differentiation by density. The interior of the Earth, similar to the other terrestrial planets, is chemically divided into layers. The mantle is a highly viscous layer between the crust and the outer core....

 rock exposed by the obduction
Obduction
Obduction is the overthrusting of continental crust by oceanic crust or mantle rocks at a convergent plate boundary. It can occur during an orogeny, or mountain-building episode....

 process of plate tectonics
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

, as well as sedimentary rock formed during the Ordovician
Ordovician
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six of the Paleozoic Era, and covers the time between 488.3±1.7 to 443.7±1.5 million years ago . It follows the Cambrian Period and is followed by the Silurian Period...

, Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 and Palaeozoic igneous rocks.

Soils


The many soil associations mapped in the park reflect the wide variety of bedrock. The Silver Mountain soil association, dominant in the northeastern area, is a very stony sandy loam developed on glacial till overlying granite, granitic gneiss and schist. Similar rocks underlie the St. Paul's Inlet association farther west. Sedimentary rocks (including some dolomitic limestone) in the southeastern sector support the North Lake association of stony sandy loam. An association of mostly-shallow loam, the Cox's Cove, occupies a discontinuous band over shale, slate, limestone and sandstone near the coast. The coastal strip north of Bonne Bay is mostly underlain by the peaty Gull's Marsh association and the coarse Sally's Cove association except for an area of clay (Wood's Island association) around Rocky Harbour. The stony infertile soils of the ultramafic tablelands south of Bonne Bay belong to the Serpentine Range association.


Western Brook Pond
Western Brook Pond
The Western Brook Pond is a Canadian fjord or lake located in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland. It is in the Long Range Mountains, the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountains....

 is a fresh water fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

 which was carved out by glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s during the most recent ice age
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

 from 25,000 to about 10,000 years ago. Once the glaciers melted, the land, which had been pushed down by the weight of the ice sheet, rebounded
Post-glacial rebound
Post-glacial rebound is the rise of land masses that were depressed by the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, through a process known as isostasy...

 and the outlet to the sea was cut off. The 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) long narrow "pond" then filled in with fresh water. The water in the fjord is extremely pure
Water quality
Water quality is the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. It is a measure of the condition of water relative to the requirements of one or more biotic species and or to any human need or purpose. It is most frequently used by reference to a set of standards against which...

 and is assigned the highest purity rating available for natural bodies of water. Pissing Mare Falls
Pissing Mare Falls
Pissing Mare Falls are located in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada. The falls, at 350 metres high, are among the highest in eastern North America and drop from Big Level over Western Brook Pond Fjord into Western Brook Pond....

, the highest waterfall in eastern North America and 199th highest in the world, flow into Western Brook Pond.
The Tablelands, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, look more like a barren desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

 than traditional Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock – peridotite
Peridotite
A peridotite is a dense, coarse-grained igneous rock, consisting mostly of the minerals olivine and pyroxene. Peridotite is ultramafic, as the rock contains less than 45% silica. It is high in magnesium, reflecting the high proportions of magnesium-rich olivine, with appreciable iron...

 – which makes up the Tablelands. It is thought to originate in the Earth's mantle and was forced up from the depths during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. Peridotite lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most plant life, hence its barren appearance. The rock is very low in calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

, very high in magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour (rusted colour). Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.

Nature and wildlife


Along the coast are forests of stunted and twisted spruce
Spruce
A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea , a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the Family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal regions of the earth. Spruces are large trees, from tall when mature, and can be distinguished by their whorled branches and conical...

 and balsam fir
Balsam Fir
The balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada and the northeastern United States .-Growth:It is a small to medium-size evergreen tree typically tall, rarely to tall, with a narrow conic crown...

 trees, known locally as "tuckamores," battered by storms and winds blowing from the sea. The forest growth is more productive, but not by much, in granitic areas farther east. The best forests, in places lent luxuriance by the presence of yellow birch
Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis , is a species of birch native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Ontario, and the southeast corner of Manitoba in Canada, west to Minnesota, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.It is a...

, grow over mixed sedimentary rock in sheltered areas.

Wildlife in the park includes lynx, black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

, caribou, arctic hare
Arctic Hare
The arctic hare , or polar rabbit is a species of hare which is adapted largely to polar and mountainous habitats. The arctic hare survives with a thick coat of fur and usually digs holes under the ground or snow to keep warm and sleep...

, marten and a booming population of introduced moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

. The coastal region supports whales and sea duck
Merginae
The seaducks, Merginae, form a subfamily of the duck, goose and swan family of birds, Anatidae.As the name implies, most but not all, are essentially marine outside the breeding season. Many species have developed specialized salt glands to allow them to tolerate salt water, but these have not yet...

s including the Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Duck
The Harlequin Duck is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Arlecchino, Harlequin in French, a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. The species name comes from the Latin word "histrio", "actor". In North America it is also known as Lords and ladies...

.

World Heritage Site


In 1987, the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 for both its geological history and its exceptional scenery. The geology of the Park in particular illustrates the concept of plate tectonics , and has shed important light on geological evolution and its processes.

James Callaghan Trail


The James Callaghan Trail was named after the former British Prime Minister James Callaghan
James Callaghan
Leonard James Callaghan, Baron Callaghan of Cardiff, KG, PC , was a British Labour politician, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1980...

 who visited in 1976. A small controversy arose after the Prime Minister did not visit the trail that had been named in his honour, as Kaya Burgess writes in The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

of London.

See also



  • National Parks of Canada
  • List of National Parks of Canada
  • Bonne Bay Marine Station
    Bonne Bay Marine Station
    - Overview :Bonne Bay Marine Station is a marine ecology research and teaching facility on Newfoundland's west coast. It offers services to students, researchers, educators and the general public. The station is within Gros Morne National Park, a recognized UNESCO world heritage site. The aquarium...

  • Green Point

External links