Mysterious Marble Canyon and Pavilion Lake




   The Marble Canyon is a small canyon in the south central Interior of British Columbia, a few kilometres east of the Fraser River and the community of Pavilion, B C, approximately midway between the towns of Lillooet and Cache Creek.

   A collapsed karst formation, the canyon's name comes from the brilliant limestone of its walls. Despite the name, however, the bedrock is microcrystalline limestone (sedimentary rock) rather than marble (metamorphic rock). The north wall is over 965m (3150') high above Pavilion Lake and is the southernmost extent of the Marble Range; the south wall is c. 515m (1500') and is the northern extremity of the Clear Range.
   Within the canyon are a series of lakes draining towards the Fraser River via Pavilion Creek. The largest of these is Pavilion Lake, which is home to a very large colony of micro-organisms, microbialites, also known as stromatolites or "freshwater coral", unusual carbonate structures built by bacteria and which are the largest freshwater stromatolites in the world. These coral-like structures are formed from fossilized remains of microbiolites and are considered to be similar to some of the oldest known life forms on Earth.

   Pavilion Lake is similar to only two others anywhere, one in Siberia and the other in
Shark Bay, Australia, and has become the subject of astrobiology research by NASA,
the Canadian Space Agency, and research institutions from around the world. The
research falls under the umbrella of the Pavilion Lake Research Project. An ongoing
study that could have some significance as to whether life
might have existed on Mars. Scientists will use
one-person DeepWorker submersibles to explore
and map Pavilion Lake, and to sample its deepest depths.
The lake area and its foreshore were added to
Marble Canyon Provincial Park in order to protect
its special scientific and heritage values.

   These microbialites are believed to have formed a critical stage in the evolution of life on earth. And some sources say that the life forms at the bottom of the lake might have been placed there millennia ago. There is a collection of interconnected mounds on a submerged ridge in the centre of the lake bed that is being investigated with regard to origin. There are also three curious flat topped conical reefs beneath the clear waters.
   Indian lore reveals that the Marble Canyon was feared as a forbidden and dangerous area, full of omens and signs, and some scientists believe that it was not originally a canyon at all, but a cavern that has collapsed in time. Once one begins to think of the theory that someone could have been here, perhaps eons ago, and manipulated some form of life to grow here on earth, then one begins to look at the area with a somewhat different eye.

   Chiminey Rock for instance. A high tower-like formation of rock standing straight up from the slant of the mountain it is on. What might it have been centuries ago? A watch tower to guard the cultivation of life beneath the crystalline waters of the lake? Were there even waters there so long ago?
   And again, once one begins to think this way, one might notice other strange tower out-croppings in the near vicinity along the smoothness of the surrounding mountains jutting upward through the trees. Like watchtowers. Why are they there? What purpose? What powers might they have had? Were they formed naturally or constructed as sentinels protecting the beginning of human life on Earth? There doesn't have to be a missing link in 'evolution' theory. And 'Intelligent design' theory needn't stand alone. The two could exist together.

   A slow drive through the picturesque canyon even in the brightness of a full sun in the summertime has an odd feeling of solitude and mellowed history. Like something we are not allowed to know just yet. Like we are being watched.

   So don’t drive your car or motorcycle at high speed through this enchanted canyon. Go slow and savour the feeling of mystery pervading the area. It could be the mystery of you! 



.... from the SFU website ....

.... from the NASA website ..

back to Pavilion Lake

All writing and photography © RC Westerholm
and Masalla Galleries Graphics 
website design - Masalla Galleries Graphics - Vancouver BC 

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