Grand Etang Crater Lake

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Grand Etang Crater Lake is a crater lake in an extinct volcano which is responsible for the formation of our Island which hasn’t erupted in 1-2 million years. It is located in Saint Andrew Parish. The Grand Etang Lake is 530 m (1,740 ft) above sea level, and it is one of the two crater lakes on the island, the other being Lake Antoine. The lake is approximately 20 feet deep and 36 acres in area. As children, we were told that the depth is unknown and its home to a mermaid that lure men to their watery grave. Peeking into the lake, one can observe a variety of interesting creatures like, freshwater lobster, barracuda, bonefish, crayfish, and others.

The Grand Etang Crater Lake is part of the Mount St Catherine ‘massif’ which is defined as a compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a larger range. The Mt. St. Catherine massif represents some of the younger major volcanic structures on the island. The final stage of volcanic activity caused the formation of explosion craters throughout Grenada, most notably the Grand Etang lake, Lake Antoine, and St George’s harbor. The three closely spaced explosion craters at Grand Etang are generally thought to be the youngest volcanic structures on the island having formed approximately 12,000 years ago.

When volcanic craters cool down after major eruptions, they sometimes fill with water to form ‘crater lakes’. The water may come from precipitation, groundwater circulation or melted ice. The water level rises until an equilibrium is reached between the rates of incoming and outgoing water. Reasons for water loss within the lake may include evaporation, subsurface seepage or surface leakage or overflow when the lake level reaches the lowest point on its rim. Water temperature in a crater lake varies. Some crater lakes are cool when they are just filled by rainwater or melted ice, and others are warm or even hot when they are still connected to their volcanic plumbing. The waters of Grand Etang Lake are relatively cool as the volcano is considered long dormant.

Grand Etang Crater Lake is part of a diverse ecosystem and is an integral part of the rain forest preserve. Its beauty resembles nothing of its violent fiery beginning. The lake is rich in plant and animal life. The lake itself can be divided into two distinct zones: the ‘littoral zone’ and the ‘limnetic zone’. The shallow waters together along with the vegetation make up the littoral zone of the lake. Most of the organisms live within this zone because it is the most productive, containing food trapped from the land as well as that produced in the lake. The root system of trees provides surfaces for organisms to live on and provides protection from larger predators. The open water is known as the limnetic zone. Large species tend to occupy that zone although they also use the littoral zone to feed and reproduce. Several species are bottom dwellers or benthic, living on the floor of the lake and within the sediment.

Hiking at Grand Etang

You can actually go hiking around the entire perimeter of Grand Etang Lake. It takes about an hour and a half. Add about 15 more minutes if you walk down from the Visitor Center. This is a relatively easy walk around the lake itself with pretty views all around. If you’re looking for a more serious hike, you can walk from Grand Etang Lake to the top of Mount Qua Qua for one of the best views of the lake. This can be a muddy and slippery hike to the top of one of the highest peaks in Grenada, although there are some stairs to help you on the way. It will take about three hours total round trip.

Wildlife at Grand Etang National Park

Grand Etang National Park is home to many species and varieties of flora and fauna. You’ll surely see at least one Mona Monkey, a protected species of monkeys in Grenada. These monkeys arrived in Grenada during the slave trade from Africa. Now, they live throughout the rain forest. The Mona Monkey has a distinctive trait. They have chubby cheeks where they store food for later consumption. Other animals to spot are, tiny bright Chartreuse lizards, a variety of orchids, mongoose, and armadillos. Plenty of birds also live at Grand Etang National Park. You might see a broad winged hawk (the gree-gree), purple throated carib, Antillean crested hummingbird (the Doctor Bird) and much more.

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  1. Rex on 10/20/2021 at 7:51 am

    Thanks for showing up our Island and our culture. Wishing you good in all your endeavors.

    • Patrick on 10/20/2021 at 8:22 am

      I agree with you Rex but we need to see more ads for Grenada. Most if not all are for some other country. At least that’s what I’m seeing here in the UK. I truly don’t know how these things work.

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