Astronomical Tourist Attractions in the Kingston Area

Page Created: 2005 March 06
Page last updated: 2005 March 09

The Holleford Meteor Crater

The Kingston area has a relatively unknown and yet fairly significant meteor impact crater located about 30 minutes north of Kingston just east of the town of Hartington.

Latitude 44 deg 27 min North Longitude 76 deg 38 min West (at the village of Holleford)
5 km ENE of the village of Hartington
Diameter: 2.35 km
Date of Identification of Holleford Feature as Possible Meteorite Impact Site: 1955
Estimated Age: 550 000 000 years
Estimated Size of Impacting Body: l00 m. in diameter
Estimated Velocity of Impact: 20 km./sec

Directions: From Kingston and Highway 401, turn north onto Highway 38 and travel through the town of Harrowsmith and into the town of Hartington (about 15 minutes). Turn east onto Holleford road and follow it for a couple of kilometers, it then turns to the north for a kilometer or so then turns back east. In another kilometer you will come to a hilltop looking down into a valley. You are now in the Crater.

From the 1997 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada General Assembly
The Ancient Meteorite Crater at Holleford Ontario
By Leo Enright

Holleford Crater, an interesting and very ancient meteorite impact feature, is named after the tiny village located partly within its boundaries. It is a circular depression about 30 meters deep and 2.35 km in diamter, located at latitude 44 deg 47 minutes north, longitude 76 deg 38 minutes west, about 27 km north-north-west of Kingston, Ontario.

Although several farms had been maintained at the site for over 100 years, its discovery and confirmation as a metoerite impact site dates only to the mid-1950's. The 1950's research was led by Canadian scientists from the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, and the project that led to its discovery was the result of the discovery of two other meteorite impact sites, the New Quebec Crater amd the crater at Brent, Ontario.

First identification of the feature was a result of a 1955 study of 200,000 aerial photographs of areas of the Canadian Shield conducted by the Dominion Observatory under the direction of Dr. Carlyle S. Beals, the Dominion Astronomer at the time.

Subsequently, the research program included a study of the surface geology by the Geologic Survey of Canada, and a series of four geophysical studies, namely (1) magnetic observations of the area, (2) seismic studies which proved consistent with the theory that it was an impact site, (3) gravity studies which also proved consistent with the impact theory, and (4) a diamond drilling program in which 3 holes were drilled. The drill core contained breccia and similar materials at depths predicted for a meteorite impact site.

The conclusions were that the feature outlined a very ancient meteorite impact crater formed in the Precambrian Bedrock below. It was over a half-billion years old, and probably formed by an impacting body 100m in diameter, travelling at 20 km/s with an energy of impact six times that of the object that formed the Barringer Crater. Primary reference for the research conducted at Holleford is Volume XXIV of the Publications of the Dominion Observatory (1960).

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Created by Kevin Kell & Kim Hay