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Quebec Bulletin
December 2013 - January 2014/Volume 16/Number 6

The Corossol Crater's Origins Are Slowly Revealed

Corossol Crater
The crater, 4 km in diameter and 250 m deep, is located about 13 kilometres from Sept-Îles.

In 2001, a hydrographic survey conducted by the Canadian Hydrographic Service in Mont-Joli, on behalf of the National Defence, revealed the existence of a strange underwater crater. Found near Sept-Îles at a depth of 40 metres, this circular structure generated considerable interest among researchers, geologists and geomorphologists, who saw it as an "enigmatic form" of "great interest."

Since then, scientific teams have sampled sediments and taken other measurements to determine the nature and age of the crater. The structure has a raised central core and concentric rings whose morphology and geometry resemble those of craters created by complex impacts. An article recently published in the international journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science establishes that the age limits of this formation fall between 470 million years (Ordovician) and 12 600 years BP (Before Present). According to study results, the most realistic hypothesis suggests a violent impact, probably from a meteorite. The study indicates that other radiometric measurements are required to confirm these conclusions.

Scientists named the Corossol Crater after a ship from King Louis XIV's fleet that ran aground near Sept-Îles in 1693. This discovery demonstrates how much remains to be done to truly broaden our knowledge on the country's as yet unexplored seabeds.

Corossol Crater
The Corossol Crater was recently studied by a team of research scientists.

The authors of the article The Corossol structure: a possible impact crater on the seafloor of the northwestern Gulf of St. Lawrence, Eastern Canada are researchers from the Université Laval (Patrick Lajeunesse and Jacques Locat), the Université du Québec à Rimouski (Guillaume Saint-Onge), the Geological Survey of Canada (Mathieu J. Duchesne), the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (Michael Higgins), Kent State University (Joseph Ortiz), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Canadian Hydrographic Service (Richard Sanfaçon).

Video illustrating the modelling of the Corossol Crater

For more details on this discovery, please consult the following articles:

Une découverte importante au large de Sept-Îles (in French only)
UQAR-Info

Un cratère météoritique au large de Sept-Îles (in French only)
Le Soleil

Cratère du Corossol : une découverte majeure pour l’Institut des sciences de la mer de Rimouski (in French only)
Radio-Canada International

Robert Dorais
Science

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