Callander Bay Complex, Ontario Canada

by: Charles O’Dale

  • Type: Syenite/Pluton
  • Age Ma: ~577a
  • Diameter: 4 km
  • Location: N 46° 12’ 44″ W 79° 23’ 18″
aCarbonatite volcanoes with magma composed primarily of rock rich in silica and contain niobium. (Eyles 2013).
The red circle identifies the position of the Callander Bay Complex at east Lake Nipissing, Ontario. GOOGLE
The circular form of the Callander Bay Complex is illustrated in this image. (courtesy Google)


The Callander Bay Complex lies at the eastern end of Lake Nipissing and most of the complex lies beneath the water of Callander Bay. The complex is approximately 2.25 miles in diameter and consists of cone sheets of fenite and nepheline syenite, (Sage 1997).

Callander Bay is an eroded Proterozoic volcanic pipe formed by the violent, supersonic eruption of a deep-origin volcano. These volcanoes originate at least three times as deep as most other volcanoes, and the resulting magma that is pushed toward the surface is high in magnesium and volatile compounds such as water and carbon dioxide. As the body of magma rises toward the surface, the volatile compounds transform to gaseous phase as pressure is reduced with decreasing depth. This sudden expansion propels the magma upward at rapid speeds, resulting in a shallow supersonic eruption.

Callander Bay contains uncommon rocks such as nepheline syenite and carbonatite and the minerals: aegirine, amphibole, analcime, apatite, barite, biotite, calcite, cancrinite, chalcopyrite, chlorite, diopside, dolomite, fluorite, garnet, hematite, kaersutite, magnetite, muscovite, nepheline, olivine, perthite, pyrite, pyroxene and pyrrhotite. (Wikipedia)

The Callander structure from my bird GOZooM from approximately 2000′ above ground. (Map courtesy of Liz Favot, PhD Candidate Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research)
 Unlike most lakes in Ontario, Lake Nipissing contains two volcanic pipes, one of which is the Callander Bay  (The Manitou Islands complex is the other one). The volcanic pipes formed by the violent, supersonic eruption of deep-origin volcanoes. Lake Nipissing lies in the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben, a Mesozoic rift valley that formed 175 million years ago. (Wikipedia)
The fenitic rocks are derived from Grenville gneissic rocks of adamellite(granitic) composition and form a zone up to the eastern of the complex where they are well exposed.(Lumbers)
“Circular” Callandar Bay on the east end of Lake Nipissing, Ontario.


Eyles, Nick. Road Rocks Ontario pp. 537 2013.

Geological Report 94 Geology of the North Bay Area Districts of Nipissing and Parry Sound S. B. LUMBERS 1971

Sage, R.P. Alkalic Rocks of the Sudbury Region, INSTITUTE ON 43rd ANNUAL MAY 6 -11, 1997