Great Bear Lake lies between two major physiographic regions: the Kazan Uplands portion of the Canadian Shield and the Interior Plains. Originally it was part of Glacial Lake McConnell in the pre-glacial valleys that were reshaped by erosional effects of ice during the Pleistocene. Since then, the lake has undergone various changes resulting from post-glacial rebound following the melting of the ice. Precambrian rocks of the Canadian Shield form the eastern margin of the McTavish Arm. These rocks of the Precambrian are made up of sedimentary and metamorphic deposits supplemented by igneous intrusions forming dikes and sills.
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