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Manicouagan Reservoir, Quebec, Canada

October 28th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Manicouagan Reservoir (also Lake Manicouagan) is a annular lake in northern Quebec, Canada, the remnant of an impact crater made approximately 212 million years ago, towards the end of the Triassic period. Recent research has shown that the impact melt within the crater has an age of 214±1 Ma. As this is 12±2 Ma before the end of the Triassic, it implies that it was not the cause of the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event.

The crater was created by the impact of a 5 km diameter asteroid which excavated a crater originally about 100 km wide although sediments and erosion have since reduced its diameter to about 72 km.

The lake was enlarged by flooding from the massive Manicouagan or Manic (Manic 1, Manic 2...) series of hydroelectric projects undertaken by Hydro-Quebec, the provincial electrical utility, during the 1960s. The complex of dams is also called the Manic-Outardes project because the rivers involved are the Manicouagan and the Outardes. The lake covers an area of 1,942 km².

The Manicouagan lake acts as a giant hydraulic battery for Hydro-Quebec. In the peak period of the winter cold, the lake surface is usually lower since the turbines are run all the time at peak load to meet the massive electrical heating needs of the province. The surface of the lake also sees record low levels in the extreme periods of heat in New England during the summer, since in that period Hydro-Quebec sells electrical energy to the joint New England grid and individual utilities in the United States.

The crater in winter as seen from space shuttle.


The crater in winter as seen from space shuttle.

The island in the center of the lake is known as René-Levasseur Island

(Source: Wikipedia)

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