The Bones of the Earth

Plate tectonics was a revolutionary scientific theory that shook our understanding of the planet. Chris Brookes and Paolo Pietropaolo take us to Newfoundland's Gros Morne National Park, the site of one of the world's best illustrations of plate tectonics in action.

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Listen to The Bones of the Earth


2011 marks the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada.  Our National Park system spans the country, safeguarding some of the most spectacular examples of our treasured Canadian wilderness.

In Western Newfoundland, there's a national park that does more than just that: it also holds the key to one of the most important scientific ideas of our times.

Gros Morne National Park is kind of like the Galapagos of geology - you might go to the Galapagos to experience first-hand the wonder of biology and the theory of evolution.  In Gros Morne, you can experience first-hand the wonder of geology and the theory of plate tectonics.

Instead of looking out for Darwin's finches and giant tortoises you'll come face to face with vistas and rock formations that will take your breath away.

On this episode of Ideas, producers Chris Brookes and Paolo Pietropaolo take their microphones to Gros Morne to capture the echo of a continental dance that happened 500 million years ago.

They find that echo in the words of geologists, artists, musicians and poets, and in the sounds of the park itself.

Featuring the poetry of Don McKay, traditional Newfoundland music performed by Daniel Payne, Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, and original music and sound design by Paolo Pietropaolo and Chris Brookes based on field recordings made in Gros Morne. (Listen to excerpts from the original soundtrack here.)

Here's a list of the voices you'll hear in the program:

Anita Best - traditional singer who lives in the Gros Morne area

Barb Daniell - painter, former artist-in-residence at Gros Morne NP

Rob Hingston -  Geologist, Gros Morne NP

Anne Marceau - Park Interpreter, Gros Morne NP

Don McKay - Griffin-Prize-winning poet

Daniel Payne - musician from Cow Head, just outside Gros Morne NP

Robert Stevens - retired geologist who made important discoveries in Gros Morne in the 1960s and 1970s

Fred Vine - British geophysicist who made major contributions to the development of the theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s

Harold "Hank" Williams - late geologist who also made important discoveries in Gros Morne. Dr. Williams passed away in St John's on September 28th, 2010.




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