ALSEVER & ROUND LAKES
- Type: Circular formation
- Diameter: ~4 Km
- Location: Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada N 45° 41’ W 77° 59’ (~115km SE of Brent Cater: N 46° 05′ W 78° 29′)
Since publishing my crater explorations with the RASC Ottawa website, I have received input from interested people in many countries suggesting circular features that appear “interesting”. This feature found on “Google Earth” was suggested to me, so Eric and I just had to go and explore the site.
The Alsever and Round Lake combination is illustrated above on an aeronautical chart, and details their striking similarity to the Gilmour and Tecumseh Lake combination within the Brent meteorite crater.
These images of Alsever and Round Lakes, taken from the north-east (left) and north-west (right), again show their similarity to the Brent Crater. A closer look at the image of the structure taken from the west shows the granite cliff of the center feature interfacing Alsever Lake.
This implies that the center feature that divides the two lakes is granite, unlike the sedimentary debris in the center of the Brent Crater. In the future I plan to do a surface exploration of this area. Who knows, I might get lucky and find a shatter cone!
REPORT ON ALSEVER EXPEDITION(S) – AUGUST-OCTOBER, 2010
Prepared by Eric Kujala February 10, 2011
Our flightplan took us from Rockliffe Airport, Ottawa to Brent Crater at the north end of the park and then south to a lake called Alsever.
Alsever Lake (top) is located at the southern boundary of Algonquin Park. It is similar in appearance to the Brent impact crater (bottom) with its two distinct bodies of water forming a circular pattern. Alsever has a central “land mass” like Brent and what appears to be circular outline. This is best viewed on some topographical maps.
We surveyed and photographed as much of the area from the air as we could to prepare for a subsequent ground expedition. It was difficult to assess from the air which way was best to reach the lake but it gave us a good perspective on how big the site was and the general landscape. These are details you do not get from maps.
In September, 2010 we undertook a ground day-trip by car to orient ourselves. We learned from the Algonquin Park authorities that the north end of the site was not accessible due to park rules. There is a utility road used to service hydro transmission lines just north of the site. Only park staff and the native community have access here.
We found an alternate entrance from Aylen Lake to the south and hiked up a “cart trail” that leads to the Alsever lake area. Unfortunately we took a wrong turn and ended up east of our intended destination. No single map offers a complete and accurate description of the area. The park map indicated a portage route but no cart trail. Other maps did not indicate portage routes. We combined the information from all our maps to come up with a route that would offer our best chance of reaching Alsever.
On Friday, October 22, 2010 we returned to Algonquin Park for a 3 day excursion to Alsever. Along with the necessary camping equipment we brought our trustee 17ft. Old Town Tripper canoe.
We parked the van at the end of the road where the cart trail begins at the southern boundary of the park. The canoe was fitted with cart wheels. This would allow us to carry our equipment down the 4 KM stretch of trail which would lead to the Aylen River.
There is a large beaver dam about 50 meters up from the point where we take into the river. We had to get out of the canoe and haul it over the dam and then keep going north against the flow of the current. The current was not strong and so paddling was not a problem. We encountered seven more dams on the way up. We paddled approximately 10 KM until we arrived at the point where there was a portage trail leading to Alsever.
Because it was late in the day we decided to make camp. We made a short visit up our first portage trail Friday evening to inspect the condition of the trail. We found it adequate for us to plan our trip the next day. Chuck was visited by the moose that evening. We think it’s the same one. He (or she) made his presence known and knocked over a couple of trees near Chuck’s tent. Moose are territorial. He may have been drawn by our presence. The area is rarely visited in October.
It was cool and clouded over Friday night and then snowed. I was not able to make any significant astronomical observations. Saturday morning October 23, I found Chuck having breakfast in the snow. We prepared day packs and our canoe for the two upcoming portages. We would leave our base camp as is for the day. Now it was time to haul!
We portaged from the campsite on the shore of the Aylen River north to Pond Lake a distance of about 650 meters. We took a small break and then proceeded across Pond Lake a distance of about 200 meters to the next portage. The portage signs were all clearly visible on our trip. From Pond Lake we portaged about 750 meters to Aylen Lake. We paused at the short of Aylen and then put the canoe in. This was what we had been waiting for since our aerial exploration in August. It is frustrating to be so close to a site of interest from the air and not be able to inspect it like a ground expedition offers.
We proceeded in a counter-clockwise direction around Aylen Lake. We stayed close to shore in order to be able to detect anything of interest. We kept a sharp eye for evidence such as shattercones or impact melt. In the shallow water we could see moose tracks left in the mud. We saw many beaver lodges. One of my concerns on this trip was the drinking water. Beavers have a parasite that thrives in lake water and can cause illness sometimes known as “beaver fever”. Filtering and preferably boiling the water before drinking it is important.
Although some rocks on the shoreline had what looked like striations in them, they were not shattercones. On many previous explorations we had seen ample signs of impact melt and shattercones. At Manicouagan we saw a hill of impact melt. Chuck also found some shattercones there. On our 2008 exploration of Pingualuit (Chubb) we found impact melt. Even though the Pingualuit crater “looks” like a crater, its mere appearance does not provide scientific evidence that it in fact is an impact site. Scientists eventually found impact melt which they used to date the crater using Argon-argon dating method at 1.4Myrs.
Pegmatites are extreme igneous rocks that form during the final stage of a magma’s crystallization. They are extreme because they contain exceptionally large crystals and they sometimes contain minerals that are rarely found in other types of rocks.
We tried to remain optimistic our prospects for finding the kind of evidence we needed was fading. Impact craters are very different from other geological structures mainly because of the sudden way they are formed. Most geological processes take place over millions of years. Impact craters form in <1 second. The energy release of a bolide colliding into the bedrock is enormous and the heat generated has an effect on the bedrock that does not take place over geological time. Chuck and I both felt this site had not experienced the cataclysmic changes of an impact site. However the correct approach is to remain open and not make any premature subjective evaluations.
Talus slope or deposit, a slope formed by an accumulation of broken rock debris, as at the base of a cliff or other high place, also called scree.
I learned that the angle of a talus slope (angle of repose) is determined by gravity. The higher the gravity the lower the angle of the slope. (The angle of repose plays a role in whether a slope will fail or not. This is the maximum angle at which loose material on this planet becomes stable, usually 25°-40°, and is caused by a balance between gravity and the resisting force.) This explains the difference in landscapes on other planets and moons. Their lower gravity produces geological features with steeper slopes and more pronounced features not possible on Earth. (Note by C. O’Dale – The talus slope I explored at Manicouagan consisted of impact melt with hidden shatter cones. Here at Alsever, the talus slope was Canadian Shield granite, nonimpact related.)
I took pH level readings of the water in the lake at various points. They turned out to be normal at between 6.5 and 6.8. Although these readings were not done with professional equipment they were adequate to the task.
We headed to the junction of Alsever and Roundbush lakes located at the northern end of the site. There is a marsh here that links the two lakes with a small stream. We chose not to try to go to Roundbush because the amount of the effort it would have required.
On the west side of Alsever Lake we found a small spring flowing into the lake. I refilled my water bottle knowing this would be a good source to quench my thirst.
After lunch we continued to inspect the shoreline including two points where the lake flows down towards the Aylen River. Neither point is passable by canoe.
We concluded our exploration late in the afternoon and headed back to camp the same way we came. It is important to plan your day carefully when exploring late in the year because daylight is short in October. We made sure not to head back in the dark. Trails are dangerous at night. Branches can injure your eyes and you can easily get lost. Lake travel is also not advisable at night.
Saturday night was also clouded over and not good for observations. I was disappointed by this because the park offers excellent dark skies. The Moon was nearly full at this time. It rained most of the night till morning.
We broke camp early Sunday morning and skipped breakfast. It was raining and getting colder. The warm sunny conditions we were treated to on Saturday were gone. We hastily loaded the canoe and headed back down the Aylen River. Instead of taking the cart trail back as we had done going up we decided to continue down the river to the point where it intersects at a further point. This was a big mistake.
Fortunately the river was shallow most of the way so we could wade through. It took us more than 3 hours to cover about 1.6 KM to the bridge that leads us back to the car. We unloaded the canoe and re-installed the cart wheels in order to pull the canoe and gear back to the car.
Although we did not find any evidence of an impact during our exploration we were satisfied with our attempt.
I have come up with three scenarios for Alsever in terms of it being an impact site.
1. It is not an impact crater but simply has a resemblance to the Brent Crater site.
2. It is an impact crater but evidence has simply not been found yet.
3. It is an impact crater but any evidence of the fact has vanished.
It might be possible to find evidence if drill core sampling was done. This is how the Brent site was proven at a time when drilling was affordable. Today it would be prohibitively expensive to do so. The cost would not validate the expected results even if it was proven to be an impact site.
Our exploration of Alsever has become a treasure of memories for us and a complete success.
If you have any questions regarding this exploration please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regards, Eric Kujala