Big Kettle Fumarole

Feature Type:Fumarole - A vent, usually volcanic, from which gases and vapours are emitted.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: At junction of Omenica River and Fumar Creek, E of Bear Lake, Cassiar Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 56°12'30''N, 126°37'10''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 94D/2

Origin Notes and History:

Big Kettle Fumarole was adopted 23 April 1940 on Geological Survey sheet 622A, McConnell Creek, as labelled on BC Lands' map 5A, 1917. Name rescinded 3 April 1986 on 94 D/2 (no reason provided; no correspondence on file). This is a noteworthy feature on the landscape, well-known as "Big Kettle" to pilots, parks and conservation officer staff, resource professionals, etc. Big Kettle Fumarole reinstated 22 May 2003 on 94D/2, with the possibility that the feature type (not the name itself) might eventually be changed.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Alexander, Rossette and I go seven miles up trail to the Big Kettle - a fumarole cone 15' high. "Kettle" is 5' deep & 6' diameter. Many dead birds and small animals in bottom - apparently killed by an intermittent issue of sulphurous gas, which, being very strong poisoned the birds flying above." (Sunday, 24 August 1913 diary entry, Frank Swannell, BCLS)

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Fumarole is from the Latin 'fumus' meaning smoke; associated with dying or extinct volcanic activity. A hole in the earth's crust from which steam and gases are emitted under pressure.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Fumarole = "A relatively quiet volcanic vent, in a late stage of activity, in which only fumes, ie. gases at a temperature above that of the atmosphere, are emitted. Of these gases, steam is usually by far the most abundant." (Dictionary of Geology, John Challinor, Oxford University Press, 1978) and: "A fumarole is a hole in a volcanic region from which hot gases and vapors issue." (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). "...a gas-only vent, irrespective of the type of gas or its origin. Fumaroles do not require active volcanism to form, although they are a common feature in active volcanic areas." (November 2002 advice from Dr. Kirstie Simpson, Volcanologist, Geological Survey of Canada)

Source: included with note

"The Big Kettle Fumarole is described by C.S. Lord [GSC Memoir 251, McConnell Creek Map-Area] as a tufa. Essentially he interprets it as the site of a former cold water spring. The depression at the top of the mound vents CO2 and CO2 also effervesces from cold, odourless springs that surround the base of the mound. From the photo, the broad mound shape appears to be consistent with a spring, which has deposited calcareous chemical sediments, as opposed to a fumarole. You don't get much mineral deposition and the build up of a mound around fumaroles. From reading the Memoir I don't think that Lord dismissed it as a fumarole because it was issuing only CO2 (and not other gases), rather, I think the shape, composition and the presence of a spring at the base led to the interpretation that it was a cold water spring or, as he described it, a tufa. Without having seen the area in person, I agree with Lord (based on his description and the photo) that it is probably incorrectly named a fumarole. Of course, activity in the area could have changed over the last 40 years, so perhaps now the mound is only venting CO2. In which case it could now be regarded as a low temperature fumarole or gas vent! Changes in shallow or deep hydrology could result in variations between gas venting and fluid discharge, so the feature may vary in character on a seasonal or longer term scale. Whatever you want to call it, it is not a feature that is associated with high temperature geothermal system like those found on active volcanoes." (November 2002 advice from Dr. Kirstie Simpson, Volcanologist, Geological Survey of Canada)

Source: included with note

"Deposits of Recent calcareous tufa were noted [here]. The tufa is mostly soft and porous, and grey, creamy, buff or rusty brown, and is composed of layers commonly less than 1/4 inch thick, some in pale brown, compact paper-thin layers. It consists of calcium carbonate, mixed with a little iron oxide, and has been deposited at the present surface by cold springs or seepages, with the simultaneous release of carbon dioxide gas. Tufa forms a cone about 8 feet high, in the top of which is a dry kettle-like depression, 5 feet in diameter and 5 feet deep, that marks the outlet of a former spring. Carbon dioxide still emanates from the bottom of this kettle, and issues as tiny bubbles from cold, odourless springs that partly surround the base of the cone. This deposit is locally and erroneously known as the Big Kettle fumarole." (C.S. Lord, GSC Memoir 251, McConnell Creek Map-Area, 1948, p.47.)

Source: included with note