Sabbatical travels of Ian Spooner to the Rock

I just completed my first sabbatical and thought I might let you in on some of the highlights. As expected it was busier than anticpated with lots of interesting side trips, dead ends, delays, and occasional moments of inspiration. I spent a fair bit of time at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Dartmouth, NS, making use of the solitude to try to finish up a number of papers.  Along with Dave Colville of CoGS  I started a joint CoGS-Acadia M.Sc. research project  Kim Wahl (B.Sc., U. of Victoria) taking a combined GIS/Geo­morphological approach to landslide hazard assessment in the Highlands National Park (Cape Breton Island).   A new project was initiated in western Newfoundland which, in my humble opinion, is one of the most beautiful places in the world!  We (Jerry Osborn, University of Calgary; John Gosse, Dalhousie University and I) based ourselves in Woody Point, which is located in the southwestern end of  Gros Morne National Park.  Our study site was the Tablelands, home to those wonderfully exposed ophiolites! We were interested in the alpine glacial history of the region, in particular evidence of Holocene glaciation and spent quite a bit of time hiking into cirques, examining moraines, getting lost on the Tablelands, and trying to locate boulders suitable for cosmogenic dating.  This new dating technique allows one to date time since exposure to sunlight so it is very good for assessing the time of formation of moraines (assuming the rock in the moraine was bedrock quarried during glaciation.  Unfortunately, snow cover can affect the date so we spent a lot of time looking for the largest boulders in hopes that they might have been partially exposed to the sun in the winter. A highlight of our time spent in the area was the cod burgers in Trout River! We also spent some time in the Codroy Valley (extreme southwest of Newfoundland) looking at cirques, tarns, and moraines in the Long Range Mountains. I don't think any of us will forget the nights spent at the Chignik Lodge where, in September, a moose ear will get you a beer (something to do with moose hunting season!). It became quite evident to us that moose do not like people in Newfoundland after seeing a number of highway signs depicting what they will do to automobiles if they chance upon one!