Dover Fault Lookout & Interpretation Centre
The Dover Fault is one of the most important geological structures in understanding Newfoundland's geology and evolution of the Appalachain Mountains. It can be traced throughout the island, and geophysical surveys across the fault indicate that it is a fundamental structure that extends downward for tens of kilometers, transecting the full thickness of the crust. The surface expression of this great break is well developed in its namesake, the Town of Dover.
Approximately 540 million years ago, a large ocean separated the western parts of Newfoundland from the eastern part. The western part from ancient continent of Laurentia ( the core of North America). The eastern part of the province including Bonavista, Burin and Avalon Peninsula, from the ancient continent of Gondwana (which included parts of Africa and Europe). The forces of the continents of Laurentia and Gondwana to drift closer together, eventually colliding around 410 million years ago. This collision resulted in the formation of a great mountain range and the 2 former continents became welded together to form a huge continent.
It was during this continent collision that great stresses were released in the earth's crust and the major fracture or fault zones developed where the ancient rocks of Gondwana were being pushed against rocks that were formed in the Lapetus Ocean (now the central section of Newfoundland, from Dover to Baie Verte). Today we know the surface expression of that movement as the Dover Fault. The fault zone has a width of 200-500 meters, and extends from Dover to Hermitage Bay on the south coast.