Welcome to a landscape like no other!
Gros Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! With its towering cliffs, dramatic fjord valleys, glacial lakes, sandy beaches, and highland plateaus, the landscape of Gros Morne National Park ranks among some of the most spectacular and diverse in the world. It is named a UNESCO site because the park’s landscape has played a role in proving one of the most important scientific theories of our day: plate tectonics. Rocks here explain how the continents got their shape, how oceans open and close, why volcanoes erupt, and why earthquakes shake our planet.
Gros Morne Mountain
The park takes its name from this mountain, Newfoundland’s second-highest at 2,644 ft/806 m located within the park just outside Rocky Harbour/Norris Point. This flat-topped mountain is a slice of Arctic tundra far south of its usual range. The habitat of rock ptarmigan, Arctic hare, and woodland caribou, a trail leads to the top of this landmark. Around the summit there are views of a spectacular glacial-carved landscape: the deep fjord arms of Bonne Bay and the U-shaped trough of Ten Mile Pond.
The barren Tablelands, found between Trout River and Woody Point in the southern portion of the 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.
Western Brook Fjord
The Western Brook Pond is a Canadian fjord or lake located in northern section of the park. It is part of the Long Range Mountains, the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountains. It is surrounded by steep rock walls 600 m (2,000 ft) high, carved from the surrounding plateau by glaciers. After the glaciers melted, the land rebounded and the fjord was cut off from the sea. Salty water was eventually flushed from the fjord leaving it fresh. The catchment area is composed of igneous rock with relatively thin soil, so the waters feeding Western Brook Pond are low in nutrients and the lake is classified as ultraoligotrophic. It is fed by Stag Brook at the extreme eastern end of the lake and by numerous waterfalls cascading from the plateau above. One of these, Pissing Mare Falls at 350 m (1,150 ft), is one of the highest in eastern North America.