The Tablelands are a dark plateau that tower 700 metres above the Atlantic Ocean. They stand alone, a stranger in a strange land, alien along the lush and hilly landscape that surrounds them.

At nearby Lobster Cove, geologist Robert Stevens discovered pieces of rock containing chromite that was over 485 million years old – much older than other rocks found in the area. These tiny pieces had eroded from the Tablelands.

Geologists once thought that the Tablelands were the remnants of molten rock that had oozed up from deep inside the earth. But Stevens’ discovery proved that they were wrong.

In fact, the Tablelands are the remains of an ancient ocean floor that existed 500 million years ago. This ocean, called Iapetus, once lay along the eastern coast of North America from Newfoundland to Florida. Tectonic forces pushed remnants of this ocean upwards so that they were preserved within the super continent, Pangea.

FACTS:

  • The Tablelands are predominantly made of peridotite – a rock that lacks the usual nutrients required to sustain most modern plant life, hence the barren landscape.

  • The Great Lakes
    Discover the roots of a long vanished mountain range, explore the remains of an inland tropical sea and trace the story of a dramatic flood
  • The Rockies
    An ever-changing landmass, geologists are learning how the Rockies were formed and discovering what they will become.
  • The Canadian Shield
    The largest - and one of the oldest - expanses of ancient rock on the planet has riches of gold and diamonds under it's crust.
  • The Appalachians
    These fabled mountains contain a geologic puzzle, a rich legacy, and the scarcely known threat of earthquakes.
  • The Atlantic Coast
    The dramatic story of volcanic outpourings, massive rifting of continents and the bursting forth of a new ocean - the Atlantic.

A five-part series that chronicles the incredible—and surprising—history of Canada's landscape in HD.
DVD

Canada Rocks Read an excerpt from Canada Rocks, a new book by the scientific advisor to Geologic Journey, Nick Eyles.

Watch video interviews with some of the scientists featured in Geologic Journey (produced in conjunction with National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada).

Order the Geologic Journey DVD for classroom use and download Teacher Resource Materials.
The Nature of Things with David Suzuki
Chromite: Chromite forms in deep magmas and is one of the first minerals to crystallize. While magma slowly cools inside the Earth's crust, dense chromite crystals form and fall to the bottom of the molten liquid where they are concentrated. Erosion: The displacement of solids (including rock) by ocean currents, wind, water, or ice by downward or down-slope movement in response to gravity. Iapetus Ocean: An ocean that existed between North America and Scandinavia between 400 and 600 million years ago. It was a precursor to the Atlantic Ocean. Tectonic Forces: Tectonics, (from the Greek for "builder", tekton), is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the crust of the Earth (or other planets) and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures. Pangea: A supercontinent that existed about 250 million years ago. It was a C-shaped landmass spread across the equator. Pangaea is believed to have broken up about 180 million years ago, leading to the current configuration of continents.