Where on Earth: Ungava Craters

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What are the two dark circles on this snowy landscape?

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with the NASA Earth Observatory (https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/).

Story adapted from Image of the Day post: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/79743/ice-free-crater-lakes-on-ungava-peninsula

  • Image of Ungava Peninsula by Aqua satellite
  • Image of Pingualuit Crater (October 2007) by Denis Sarrazin
  • Written by Katherine Porter
  • Designed by Dani Player
  • Music from Yesh Music (ASCAP)

Various landscapes. Text, Where On Earth?
What are the two dark circles on this snowy landscape?
A. Drill holes in an oil field in Russia. B. Volcanoes under a glacier in Iceland. C. Crater lakes in the tundra of Canada, D. Hot springs under a snow bank in Chile
Highlight on C, Crater lakes in the tundra of Canada
Impact craters on the Ungava Peninsula, Quebec, Canada. The Ungava Peninsula is a region of tundra in northern Quebec. The entire Peninsula is typically covered in snow for most of the year, thawing for just a few months in the height of summer.
However, in November 2012, two lakes remained free of ice and snow.
These deep lakes fill impact craters that formed millions of years ago when meteorites struck Earth's surface. Pingualuit Crater, Couture Crater.
Because they hold so much water, the lakes are slow to change temperature with the seasons.
They are generally the last to freeze in the winter, and the last to thaw in the summer.
Unusually warm weather in the Arctic in 2012 may have played a role in keeping the Lakes ice-free longer than usual.
From Quebec, Canada to the Earth as a whole. Text, Music courtesy of Yesh Music (ASCAP)
Various landscapes. Where On Earth?