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The Energy of a Meteorite Impact Crater

Few Quebecers can boast of sleeping at the bottom of a crater. You must visit Charlevoix to appreciate how you sleep like a baby here. It is often said that Baie-Saint-Paul’s special energy is owed to the meteorite impact that occurred over 350 million years ago. One thing is certain, the crash carved out the territory’s very strange terrain, a large valley encircled by soaring mountains that tumble down to the majestic St. Lawrence River. Were it not for this cosmic phenomenon, the entire territory would have presented a much more austere and unfriendly face, unfavourable to human settlement.

At 56 km in diameter, the crater is among the fifteen largest in the world. Experts suggest that the projectile that shaped it was most certainly an asteroid with an estimated diameter of 2 km, weighing 15 million tons and striking at a cosmic speed of 10 to 20 km per second (about 60,000 km/hour). A huge dent in our famous Laurentian mountain range!

If you are just a little perceptive, you can see its effects with the naked eye or by taking a tour with a naturalist guide. The best way to observe the crater is definitely from high above the inhabited zone, by helitour, or by climbing Mont du Lac des Cygnes in Parc national des Grands Jardins. One way or another, it’s totally wow!

Midway between Baie-Saint-Paul and La Malbaie, mont des Éboulements mountain soars to an altitude of 768 metres, making it the central point of the impact zone. The best way to explain its unique shape? Toss a pebble into a glass of water and watch the resulting tsunami ‒ not to say tempest in a teapot. Like a ‘wave’, this mountain was carved out by rebound effect. When you realize the beauty of Charlevoix’s landscapes was borne of catastrophe, it reminds us of how great life really is ‒ for better or worse!

 

Copyright: Randonnées Nature-Charlevoix

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