Newfoundland: Geology of the Coast

We are currently surveying along the coast between Mistaken Point and Drook Point, a little west of Race Point. The geology of this area is quite spectacular. 

Structurally, there are a number of synclines and anticlines evident in the coastal cliffs, which are home to millions of sea birds, including gulls, puffins, turr (common murr), and shearwaters. The bedrock consists of Late Proterozoic sandstone and shale that was deposited in layers in a deep sea basin over 600 million years ago. This eastern part of Newfoundland is a fragment of Gondwanan continental crust that was left behind, attached to the Laurentian crust, when the continent broke apart to form the Atlantic Ocean during Early Jurassic time, about 200 million years ago. According to the “Newfoundland & Labrador Traveller’s Guide to the Geology,” Mistaken Point is one of the few places in the world where Proterozoic fossils occur. The fossils include organisms resembling modern jellyfish and sea pens, and can be seen in a sequence of sandstone, siltstone, shale and volcanic ash. Interestingly, this area is still home to a variety of jellyfish, including the bioluminescent comb jellies we have been seeing in the water at night. We have also seen a number of whales today, including one very curious humpback that swam up alongside the starboard transponder and circled the boat twice before continuing on his way, and later in the day, a few Minke whales. 

Immersion Program: 
JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic