Quite honestly, I never noted the importance of such status while growing up in small town Newfoundland. It's true what they say - ya know, that stuff about taking everything for granted when it's right in front of you.
....or behind you, in the form of mountains, as in my case.
Then, smack-dab in the middle of all that, lies the Tablelands. According to Wikipedia:
The Tablelands, found between the towns of Trout River and Woody Point in Gros
Morne National Park, look more like a barren desert than traditional
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 (rusted colour).
To me, it's an amazing site to see, when driving through the "gulch" to Trout River, how the road intersects what looks like two different worlds: On the right, typical forest and bog and moose, and on the left: a barren brown waste-land of the earths mantle with hardly a spot of green. It's the strangest thing ever.
I can't think of a better way for you to see this amazing place than to pass you over to an old friend, Michael Blanchard, who has taken absolutely stunning images (see below) of the area at http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelablanchard/tags/tablelands/
The hubster prompted this post when he told me about a chat on VOCM radio about NASA being in the Tableland area to take samples of the rock for study in comparison to rocks on Mars. Mars: The earth's neighbouring red planet, that is, in case you were wondering. Apparantly, life on the Tablelands could be an indication of life on Mars. Huh? Yep, that's what they say. Read the article HERE on the Western Star website.
Take it or leave it. Believe it or not. There it is. I just wanted to put it out there.
Personally, I love hearing about research of any type in my community because that means publicity, and visitors coming to check us out. I love research. I love my community. I love tourists. However, I still think searching for life on Mars is a waste of money that could be better spent feeding lives on earth. But who am I?
So, if all this talk of the Tablelands and Mars, the planet, doesn't interest you one iota, you can always go on over to Mars, the chocolate bar, website to try and win some yumminess. https://secure.realchocolate.com/ That's where I'm headed. Quite frankly, I prefer the chocolate over the planet.