[meteorite-list] Crater Lake Comes With New Park In Canada
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:37:31 2004
Crater lake comes with new park in Canada
By Dwane Wilkin
Environmental News Network
December 4, 2000
A crater lake is the star attraction of a vast new park being charted on the
rolling tundra of Canada's far north.
Pingualuk Lake was punched deep into the Earth's crust a million and a half
years ago by a meteorite the size of a small mountain. It's considered to be
one of the youngest and best-preserved craters on the planet.
Under a conservation plan put forward by Quebec's parks and wildlife
department, Pingualuit Provincial Park could open to visitors as early as
The village of Kangiqsujuaq, which lies on Wakeham Bay about 60 miles
northeast of the crater, has already received a small number of adventure
seekers over the years, mostly from England.
Local Inuit even boast about a brush with Hollywood fame.
A letter, purportedly autographed by Sylvester Stallone, is on display at
the village's only hotel where the American movie star is said to have
stayed while scouting possible film locations.
"It says he likes the land and he really wants to come back," villager Betsy
The park's proposed boundaries take in sweeping tracts of tundra along the
panoramic Puvirnituq River Valley.
Public hearings on the park plan wrapped up last week in Kangiqsujuaq, one
of 14 remote villages in Nunavik, the settlement region for 10,000 Inuit
living in northern Quebec.
Pingualuit is the Inuktitut term for skin blemishes caused by cold weather,
and refers to the goose-pimpled landscape of lakes and hills that make up
the Ungava Plateau.
Etidloie said some Inuit were initially concerned that provincial
regulations would interfere with their caribou harvest, but government
officials assured them only non-native visitors would be subject to a ban on
hunting and fishing in the park.
Construction of a tourist center, shelters and about 70 miles of access
trails is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2001. New lodging facilities
and recreational activities for visitors are also in the works for
Kangiqsujuaq, which is serviced by air from Montreal via Kuujjuaq on the
Ungava Bay coast.
Stranded by retreating glaciers thousands of years ago and cut off from
other waterways, the so-called Crystal Eye of Nunavik sits about 2,000 feet
above sea level and is a sort of geological rain barrel, fed entirely by
snow and rain.
Raymonde Pomerleau, a spokeswoman with the Quebec government, said the main
conservation goal in establishing Pingualuit Park is to protect the Nunavik
crater itself, an ecological and geophysical anomaly that has attracted the
interest of scientists from around the world.
The only fish living in the crater are an isolated population of Arctic char
which feed on their own young.
With an average depth of about 470 feet, the cone-shaped crater floor dips
nearly 900 feet in some places, making it Quebec's deepest lake.
"It's the second-most transparent lake in the world," Pomerleau said.
Because of its relatively pristine condition, the crater also promises to
reveal much about life on the planet 1.4 million years ago, when the
400-foot-wide meteorite blazed through the Earth's atmosphere and exploded
with atomic force.
Layers of mud that have built up over hundreds of millions of years on the
lake bottom likely contain traces of pollen, which should prove valuable to
scientists hoping to piece together a timeline of early plant evolution.
It's hoped the park will boost Nunavik's fledgling tourism trade, too, and
provide much needed employment for locals, who no longer rely exclusively on
hunting and fishing for their livelihood.
Because the only way for the crater to discharge its contents is through
evaporation, an exchange of water takes an estimated 330 years, making the
lake extremely vulnerable to pollutants.
"It gives you an idea how fragile the lake is," Pomerleau said. "Any
pollution would take a very long time to evacuate."
Received on Mon 04 Dec 2000 08:39:25 PM PST