Field Trip to western Newfoundland
ERTH 3203 Applied Sedimentology
29 August - 7 September, 2016
The bedrock geology of western Newfoundland records successive histories of at least 4 oceans spanning 600 million years. The modern, Pleistocene, Carboniferous, and Cambro-Ordovician geology in and around the regions of Gros Morne National Park and the Port au Port Peninsula formed the framework for third-year students to examine and understand depositional systems. Guided by Profs. George R. Dix and Ian Honsberger, students studied sedimentary characteristics (=facies) and processes of modern and ancient environments over 10 days following a composite “mountain to deep-sea” transect enabled by superb coastal exposures. Environments included: a modern alluvial fan related to erosion of the Earth’s mantle in the Tablelands of Gros Morne National Park; a Pennsylvanian meandering river system rich with fossil trees; Pleistocene coastal aeolian dunes, Gilbert deltas, eskers, and till; modern and Cambrian beach and shoreface sands; Mississippian terrestrial (red-bed), evaporitic, and carbonate deposits in laterally equivalent basins; Ordovician peritidal and shelf carbonates, and coral reefs; and, Cambro-Ordovician carbonate slope breccias, turbidites, and basinal shale, of which one cliff-line exposure represents the global reference section for the Cambrian-Ordovician boundary. These (paleo)environments and evidence for environmental change were cast within a recurring geologic framework of sedimentation in response to crustal flexure related either to Paleozoic and Cenozoic tectonics or Quaternary glacioeustasy.
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