In the morning we went on a guided hike of the Tablelands. We learned a lot about the reasons that Gros Morne is a UNESCO site. Tablelands was formed a long time ago when the continents were shifting. During the shifts a piece slammed into north America and then pulled away. A piece of the mantel was pushed up and stayed there and over time the top crust above it (which was really ancient seafloor) eroded away and left the exposed mantle. The mantle piece is made of peridotite. It is normally a greenish-black rock but due to the exposure it is rusting and turned orangish. Technically they call the color umber. The rock lacks the nutrients to sustain life so it is mostly barren. The rock is low in calcium and high in magnesium along with high quantity of other toxic metals. Usually the peridotite undergoes metamorphose and becomes soap stone or asbestos but for some reason this area never got that chance.
There was another rock called seperntinite that was all over the place. It looks like snake skin! I bet Uncle Matt would LOVE it!
As we learned about plate tectonics we got to act out the plates for the interpreter. I love how everything is kid friendly and they make things easy to understand. We also enjoyed a VERY knowledgable guide.
We learned about some of the plants that do manage to survive on the Tablelands. One was called Canadian Wormwood and it was once used to deworm children and livestock.
We learned about cryoturbation rings that were caused by permafrost. The larger rocks appear to have circles around them. It was really neat.
We also saw some grey wool moss come to life when water was added to it. It acts as a garden bed for seeds that blow by allowing them a place to grow.
The plants all had a similar structure in that they were all low to the ground and had leaves facing many directions and were domed shape to gather the most sunlight.
We hiked out to the waterfall after the guided hike was over.
Oh we made a new friend, Marion. We enjoyed collecting pitcher plant juice together and checking out all the rocks and plants. I am sure we all drove the interpreted batty with our questions!
Dad had hiked up the Tablelands off trail. He got some great photos.
After the hike we visited the Discovery Center and met Mr. Kevin again and learned about flint-napping to make arrow heads. He was making them out of glass and a tool.
We were asking him if he thought we could do a program tomorrow and then make it back for a Medicine walk he does and he offered to take us out right then!
We explored birch, fir, dandelion and many other plants and learned their benefits. We even got to pick wild strawberries. Boy were those YUMMY! Kevin rubbed some tree sap on a bug bite Mom had and it is healing very fast. We munched on several leaves that tasted like wintergreen. Breighton even got to try mother nature’s chewing gum! It was a ball of resin on a tree that you allow to soften between your teeth and cheek and then in about 20 minutes can chew.
In the evening we attended a Earth Odyssey program. It was a very bizarre program teaching about the significance of Gros Morne as a UNESCO site. There were aliens, space ships, teleporters, and lots of entertaining jokes and songs. It was written by the man who played the alien and it had elements of Star Trek, Star Wars, Beach Boys songs and much more. It was hilarious and educating.