Pingualuit Crater

This lake in Canada was formed by a meteorite over a million years ago

The Pingualuit Crater, which from Inuit translates to “pimple,” is surrounded by the incredible moon-like landscape of Pingualuit National Park, in northern Quebec.

This natural wonder was formed by a meteorite plummeting from space over one and a half million years ago. It's still considered a young crater by geological standards, despite being present through two ice ages. 

Due to the explosive impact, the circumference of the lake rises over 500 feet above the surrounding land. Beyond the crater, the park is extremely flat and regular. The treeless expanse offers the ideal terrain for hiking and cross-country skiing.

You can loop the entire landform on a 12-kilometre trek or view it from one of the lookouts in the park.

The lake is covered with ice nine months out of the year and only has one spot where it's safe enough to descend to the water's edge. However, soaking up the breathtaking and otherworldly scenery is an experience you can't pass up. 

At 1,300 feet deep, this crater lake is one of the deepest lakes in North America. It's also one of the most transparent in the world. It's said you can see 115 feet into its exceptionally clear blue water. 

With no inlets or outlets, the lake water is accumulated entirely from rain and snow, making it the purest fresh water in the world. At a salinity level of less than 3 ppm, it's far more fresh than even the Great Lakes that has a level of about 500 ppm. 

The Pingualuit crater is certainly what draws the visitors to the beautiful, yet desolate Arctic region of Quebec. The incredible natural gem makes for a truly epic adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Lead photo by

Gabe Rivest

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