The Brent meteorite impact crater, which is 3.8 kilometers in diameter and located in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, was first identified in 1951 from aerial photographs taken by Spartan Air Services during survey work for the Canadian Government. John Roberts, the company president, noted its similarity to the New Quebec Crater, which had been recognized as an impact crater the previous year.
Consultations with the Geological Survey of Canada and the Dominion Observatory led to the first field investigations of the Brent Crater, July 4-9, 1951. More extensive geological and geophysical surveys followed in 1953, as well as a coring program that ran from 1955 to 1967. Over 5 kilometres of core were recovered from 12 drill holes making it one of the most comprehensively studied impact craters on Earth.
The Brent Crater became the model for smaller craters formed in crystalline rocks and the keystone for the systematic search for craters in Canada. It is estimated that the meteorite impact occurred about 450 million years ago. Visitors to Algonquin Park can view the crater from an observation tower and hike a 2-kilometre trail that highlights the fracturing in the surrounding rocks caused by the meteorite’s explosive energy.
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