• Type: Volcanic Crater
  • Diameter: ~2.8 Km
  • Location: North West Territories, Canada N 62° 39.4’ W 115° 48.1’
  • Great Slave Lake, NWT “Circular Structure”
Fort Rae structure – Google image.
Fort Rae structure – Google image.
Fort Rae structure – south west (looking north east) from GOZooM.


Fort Rae structure from the north. This image was taken by fellow RASC member Stephen Bedingfield while he was documenting the transit of Venus at this location.

During our 2012 exploration of Canada above the Arctic Circle we were constantly on the lookout for any impact structures/craters and circular geologic structures. Fort Rae was noted in an article from a 1964 Journal of the Royal Canadian Astronomical Society and we wanted to ensured that we collected images of the structure before flying further south. It is suspected that the circular tongue of land in Great Slave Lake is a volcanic eruption at the west edge of the Slave Craton.

Fort Rae structure – west (looking east) from GOZooM.

(quote from JRASC) “This object was drawn to our attention by Mr. E.J. Meek, head of the Air Photo Library. It is located on a tongue of land jutting out from the north-eastern shore of North Arm, Great Slave Lake. It is oblong or oval in shape with a long axis of 1.75 miles and a short axis of 1.3 miles. A report received from Dr. C.S. Lord of the Geological Survey indicates that this point of land is at least partly covered by Palaeozoic sediments.A study of the crater with the stereoscope has indicated that the slope of the inner and outer walls are similar and in this respect it does not resemble known meteorite craters. It is further noted that the average elevation of the floor of the crater is at or slightly above the level of Great Slave Lake whereas, over most of its circumference, the outer periphery of the crater dips below the level of the lake. In this respect also this object differs from meteorite or lunar craters and is probably due to a different origin. It is possible that this crater is due to volcanic action” (Beals et al, 1964).


The Slave craton is a Canadian geological formation located in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. This craton is approximately 300,000 square kilometres (120,000 sq mi) in size and forms part of the Canadian Shield. It is dominated by ca. 2.73-2.63 Ga greenstones and turbidite sequences and ca. 2.72-2.58 Ga plutonic rock, with large parts of the craton underlain by older gneiss and granitoid units. The cratonic block extends from the Great Slave Lake at about 61 °N to Coronation Gulf on the Arctic Ocean at 69 °N. It covers longitudinally the area between about 105 °W to 117 °W. The Slave includes the Acasta Gneiss which is one of the oldest dated rock units on Earth at 4.03 Ga.

The crust of the Slave craton is thought to have amalgamated during a 2.69 Ga collision between a proto-Slave western basement complex, known as the Central Slave Basement Complex, and an eastern putative island arc terrane (Hackett River) along a N-S suture. Along the Acasta River, this basement complex yields protolith ages up to ca. 4.03 Ga.

Ages represented by the craton are the Cambrian, Cretaceous, Eocene, Jurassic, Permian and Siluro-Ordovician, based on the craton’s known kimberlites which presently number in the hundreds (Bleeker et al).


Beals, C. S., Ferguson, G. M., & Landau, A., Scientists Report II. A Search for Analogies Between Lunar and Terrestrial Topography on Photographs of the Canadian Shield, Part II,Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 50, p.257-258

Bleeker W., Ketchum J., Davis B., Sircombe K, Stern R., Waldron ., The Slave Craton From On Top: The Crustal View.