The barren Tablelands, found between Trout River and Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park, look more like Arizona than forested Newfoundland. This is due to the ultramafic rock - peridotite - 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, very high in magnesium, and has toxic amounts of heavy metals. Peridotite is also high in iron, which accounts for its brownish colour. Underneath this weathered zone, the rock is really a dark green colour.

Photo courtesy of Trevor Bell, © 1998.
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