Friday, October 27, 2017

The Painted Fish gets a geology lesson

My friend Neville spent the best part of a year building a bread and breakfast in Hatchet Cove called "The Painted Fish".  Its a 4-star establishment with 5-star amenities.  Not only is it a B&B (airbnb) but they also offer kayak tours.

Neville told me he gets a lot of questions about the geology on the tours so I joined him to give him a rudimentary geology class.  It was foggy but started to clear once we got on the water.

It was a spectacular day weather wise but also scenery wise.  The fall colours were on vivid display as we left Hatchet Cove.

The water was dead calm and reflected the scenery in immaculate detail.  One of the first questions Neville had was what type of rocks were these and what processes tipped them at these angles that in the reflected water looked like arrows pointing the way.

I explained the three basic rock types.  Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.  These were sedimentary siltstones that were once part of the ancient continent of Gondwana (current continents of South America, Africa, Australia and Antarctica).  These rocks were sent adrift across the Iapetus Ocean (pre-Atlantic Ocean) after the micro-continent of Avalonia was rafted off of  Gondwana.

Across the strait fog still lingered while we were in sunshine.  Back to Geology 101.

Across the Iapetus Ocean lay Laurentia (currently North America).  During the Cambrian Period (between 542 - 488 million years ago) the Iapetus Ocean began to close as Gondwana and Laurentia began to drift together sweeping up Avalonia and volcanic island arcs along the way.  Between the Ordovicin an Silurian periods the Iapetus Ocean closed and Avalonia was appended to what would become North America.

Tremendous forces of collision forced flat laying sediments to be tipped at various angles we saw along the shore.

The next query was "What are these rocks and what makes them red?"  Siltstones are not the only rocks in Northwest Arm.  These were interbedded sandstones and conglomerates that were deposited in shallow waters.  Deep water in anoxic (oxygen poor) whereas shallow water is well oxygenated that oxidized (rusted) the hematite (iron) in the sediments.

The tremendous forces of collision are evident in this small tightly folded siltstone and ...

... if not convinced, more evidence the deformation the collision caused.

We paddled up to the entrance of St. Jones Within before turning back so I could head for home early enough to avoid driving in the dark.  Driving in the dark around here is risky with the possibility of moose collisions.

Again, the still water captured the hilly scenery in exquisite detail.

We arrived back in Hatchet Cove an the red roofed Painted Fish with its waterfront views.

It was the first time I paddled in the area and won't be the last.


  1. What an interesting trip to read and to view!
    Appreciate your short lesson very much, this time too. Safe paddling!

    1. Thanks! The shoreline is one of the best places to see the geology of Newfoundland.

  2. Tony, Thanks for the Geology 101 but I do not think I am going to do well with the exam, the terminology is crazy. I have always liked paddling in the fall when the trees turn colour and the weather was exceptional.

    1. I think you know enough now to at least reply to the questions you've been asked. I'm only an email away if you need more info!