In the alumina-silica system, the surface area of gels exhibit dependence upon both composition and the fluid in the pores during drying. Under controlled conditions, an anomalous drop in both the surface area and skeletal density of identically prepared gels occurs at a composition of 47% alumina. An effort has been made to understand the reasons for this phenomenon. The effect of various solution precursor systems has been investigated. Precursors that contain boehmite, or other colloidal species, do not exhibit low surface area/density at 47% alumina. Data from light scattering, infrared spectroscopy, and solution NMR will be discussed for the precursor system used to prepare low surface area gels. Data will be interpreted to determine the effect of solution structure on gel characteristics.