Just to the southeast of the exit for Kamouraska, beside the village of Saint-Pascale, is a large “monadnock”. This is one of a a series of isolated hills of hard rock (rarely more than 80 metres high, and no more than 700 metres long) which resisted the erosion that lowered the level of the surrounding land. They run roughly parallel to the Trans-Canada Highway. There is also a longer one on the north (east) side of this exit, but less accessible to highway travelers
These monadnocks are made mostly of Quartzite, which has a nearly white (almost clear) surface, and has a fine and regular grain. In spots, the quartzite contains dolomitic sandstone nodules, some roughly 60 cm in diameter, which weather more rapidly than the rest of the rock creating a pitted surface
The rocky cliffs in the area are popular as nesting sites for the common raven. This bird looks like the common crow, but larger, and usually scavenges along the shore of St. Lawrence. Like the crow, however, it keeps an eye out for dead animals lying at the sides of the highway, which provide a supplement to their traditional food sources.
Peatlands around Rivere-du-Loup
The Riviere-du-Loup terraces are mostly peatlands. Although quite varied in origin, peatlands are formed by the accumulation of organic debris in poorly drained depressions, where layer can be distinguished by variations in the degree of decomposition.
When the glaciers passed over the St. Lawrence lowlands. they dug basins in the land, generally parallel to the St Lawrence River. Some basins became lakes of varying depths and the deepest ones, TroisSaumons and Morin Lakes, still exist. Shallower lakes, over time, have been transformed into peatlands. Several large peatlands are south of the Trans-Canada Highway, around Saint-Charles-de-8ellechasse, Riviere-Ouelle, Saint-Andre, Saint-Alexandre, and Riviere-du-Loup .
The peatland looks composed of grassy, treeless vegetation; with a few stunted black spruce and tamaracks, that manage to survive in a very wet environment. Trees grow in height further away, as drainage (and elevation) improves.
The wet meadow are fertile ground for growing sphagnum , members of the Cyperaceae or sedge family (slender wetland plants resembling hay and having solid stems). and low shrubs of the Ericaceae or heath family (blueberries, cranberries, Labrador tea). Peatlands are the home of many semi-aquatic migratory birds in central and northern Quebec, including the short-eared owl, palm warbler and Lincoln’s sparrow.
To harvest peat from an open bog, trenches are first dug to lower the water level. Then the top layer of vegetation is removed, exposing the layers of fibrous and partially decomposed peat moss. The. surface is then broken up with a harrow, to allow the peat to partially dry. Then it is collected using a huge vacuum loader, and transported to the processing plant for shredding, packaging, and shipping. Peat is sold across Canada and the United States to enhance lawn soil. Since It is capable of holding ten to twenty times its weight in water. Another use for peat’s absorbency is for oil spill cleanups. It is estimated that the supply of peat reserves, estimated at 640 million tons, can last 300 years.
Two carnivorous plants found in Quebec’s peatlands; they are the pitcher-plant, the flower-emblem of Newfoundland, and the sundew. Frequently the insects attracted by the nectar get trapped by the direction hairs, and drown in rainwater that collects and stagnates at the bottom of the leaf; the plant then feeds on the decomposing insects
Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map
Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map
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