At the northern tip of Appalachia, geologist James Hibbard looks for zircon samples on the rocky shores of Western Newfoundland.
It’s one of the best places to study the Appalachians because the bedrock is exposed and easily accessible. The folds seen in the rocks clearly show the history of the ancient mountain range.

Hibbert measure the age of zircons found in the rocks here and compares them to samples from North Carolina. His research has proven that the Appalachians were formed through the collision of two micro-continents with North America – ten million years apart.


  • The Applachians were formed by the melding of continents. Geologists predict than within the next 250 million years continents will once again configure into a super continent – leading to a new generation of mountain ranges.

  • 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.

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
Zircon: A mineral that has an almost ubiquitous presence in the Earth’s crust. They survive erosion and can be dated using modern analytical techniques. They are crystals with a layered onion-like structure. Each layer forms would the surrounding rocks are heated almost to the melting point during the mountain-building process.