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Saguenay Fjord

A cache by mindsprings Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/15/2006
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
3 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

[Traduisez cette page au Français ! Allez : http://babelfish.yahoo.com/] Stretching 100 kilometers, from Saint Fulgence to Tadoussac, the
Saguenay Fjord is one of the longest in the world. It is also
considered one of the fjords having the strongest flow rate of
fresh water.

The Saguenay Fjord is not the only such geographical feature in North America, but it is counted among the most beautiful.

Take a cruise down the St. Lawrence to admire the fjord's towering cliffs that plunge abruptly into the water—the view will take your breath away.

The fjord, which has not changed in millions of years, has served as the setting for many historic films. Did you know that the fjord originated some 250 million years ago as a crack in a weaker spot in the granite floor of the Canadian Shield, the oldest mountain range in the world? (over 1 billion years old)

During the last Ice Age, the gradual build-up of ice over a period of tens of thousands of years eventually formed a colossal glacier. Crash, boom, bang—a fjord is born! And what was bound to happen, happened. Under the weight of a glacier measuring from 2000 to 3000 m (6600 to 9900 feet) thick, the ground cracked then tore asunder in a grinding of pulverized stone and a cascade of rocks, sand and earth raining down beneath the glacier. As the planet's climate warmed up, the icy colossus covering a large part of the continent began to melt, creating an inland sea. The glacier began its slow retreat to the St. Lawrence River, deeply scoring the earth in the process, and thus creating the Saguenay Fjord.

A few millennia later, the glacier reached the St. Lawrence River itself, whose topography was much different from what we know today. Only too happy to have found a travelling companion, the glacier turned left on its route north. Like a powerful tractor, it ploughed deeply into the bedrock, deepening the St. Lawrence riverbed and carving an underwater valley, nearly 500 m (1500 feet) deep in some places, that extends as far as Northern Labrador!

What is even more fascinating is that the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean travels through this valley all the way to Chicoutimi against the St. Lawrence current! In effect, the fjord is an extension of the sea.

This icy bull in a china shop smashed and crushed everything in its surroundings, yet the scars it left on the earth are now scenes of captivating beauty. Mother Nature devoted a lot of energy to transform this broken land into a wilderness paradise!

Like other fjords, the Saguenay is very deep and bordered by very high vertical rock faces. The surface water is fresh or brackish; the deep waters however are salty and very cold. These waters come from the St. Lawerence Estuary where it meets the Saguenay river at Tadoussac.

The presence of both fresh and salt waters does however create a favorable habitat for sixty or so fish species. In spite of its majestic apperance, the fjord is actually not very productive in biological terms because of its high flow rate and high level of turbidity. Its surface waters produce relatively small amounts of algae (phytoplancton), the base of the food chain.

Life in the fjord is highly dependant on the occasional influx of nutrients from the St. Lawrence river. The Saguenay Fjord is also visited by different marine mammals such as the beluga and minke whale, the grey seal and harbour seal. Among the places in the
Saguenay river most visited by the belugas, “Sainte Marguerite” bay deserves special mention at just 15 minutes from the town of “Riviere Eternite”. Harbour seals are also frequent sight inside the fjord and they often haul out at the feet of “Cape Fraternite” and “Cape Eternite”.

Bring a good pair of binoculars and lots of film (or disk space for your digital camera) you will not regret the views and you might even see from the provided coordinates, whales and seals.

To get to this Earthcache you must enter the “Baie Eternite” provincial park (Parc national du Saguenay), a small entry fee is required by the parks authority. Proceed to the “Boutique Naturale” Interpretation Center @ N48 18.053 - W070 20.160 from the "Boutique Naturale" you will be required to walk a path to "Cape Trinite" (6.5 Kms round trip) where you will be able to appreciate the majestic Saguenay Fjord.

You can log this Earthcache by submitting three pictures
- Pic 1 facing approx 340 degrees NW towards the fjord with your party, GPS on hand. (Smiles required)
- Pic 2 of the “Cape Trinite” plaque and your GPS @ N48 19.340 - W070 19.285 (located at summit from where you will be able to enjoy the views the fjord provides)
- Pic 3 of "Notre Dame of Saguenay" statue, located at the flanks of the “Cape Trinite” with your party and GPS on hand

Educational tasks:
- How are fjords formed? -
- Approx. how many years ago was this fjord formed?
- In what year was the "Notre Dame de Saguenay" statue erected and who initiated this task? Why?

There is some very nice geocaching to be done in the area so please plan your time well.

Enjoy the breathtaking views, interaction with the nice people and towns of northern Quebec and the many hidden beauties (natural and artistic) waiting for you to discover.

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