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.