Coppermine River

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Coppermine River
Coppermine mouth 1821.jpg
View of the Arctic Sea from the mouth of the Coppermine River (1821) by George Back
Country Canada
Source Lac de Gras
 - location Northwest Territories, Canada
 - elevation 396 m (1,299 ft)
 - coordinates 64°35′01″N 111°11′33″W / 64.58361°N 111.19250°W / 64.58361; -111.19250
Mouth Coronation Gulf
 - location Nunavut, Arctic Ocean, Canada
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 67°48′43″N 115°05′05″W / 67.81194°N 115.08472°W / 67.81194; -115.08472Coordinates: 67°48′43″N 115°05′05″W / 67.81194°N 115.08472°W / 67.81194; -115.08472
Length 845 km (525 mi)
Basin 50,700 km2 (19,575 sq mi)
 - average 337.69 m3/s (11,925 cu ft/s) [1]
 - max 1,500 m3/s (52,972 cu ft/s)
 - min 10.37 m3/s (366 cu ft/s)
Coppermine River is located in Canada
Coppermine River
Coppermine River mouth location

The Coppermine River is a river in the North Slave and Kitikmeot regions of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada. It is 845 kilometres (525 mi)[4] long. It rises in Lac de Gras, a small lake near Great Slave Lake, and flows generally north to Coronation Gulf, an arm of the Arctic Ocean. The river freezes in winter but may still flow under the ice.

The community of Kugluktuk (formerly Coppermine) is located at the river's mouth.

The river was named for the copper ores which could be found along the lower river. Samuel Hearne travelled down the river to the Arctic Ocean in 1771. Sir John Franklin also travelled down the river during the Coppermine Expedition of 1819–1822. In 1826 its mouth was reached by John Richardson, who followed the coast from the Mackenzie River.

Bloody Falls, part of the Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park, is located 18.5 kilometres (11.5 mi) from Kugluktuk, and was home to the Kogluktogmiut a sub-group of the Copper Inuit. It is the site of the Bloody Falls Massacre, when Matonabbee, Samuel Hearne's guide, and his fellow Chipewyan warriors ambushed and massacred the local Inuit.

The river is used for wilderness canoeing and rafting, although it sees only a few groups each year. It features major rapids, such as Rocky Defile, Sandstone, Muskox, and Escape Rapids, as well as many unnamed smaller sets. Bloody Falls is the final major rapid of the river, and must be portaged.

The Coppermine River is the namesake of Coppermine Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority.

The river figures in Jack London's short story, "Love of Life," in which the main character, exhausted and abandoned, finds himself standing in a stream, "a feeder to the Coppermine River, which in turn flowed north and emptied into Coronation Gulf and the Arctic Ocean." Later in the story, the Coppermine is described as a "wide and sluggish river".


Canoeists camping along river
One of many waterfalls along the river
Canoeing the Rocky Defile
Bloody Falls

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Dredge, L. A. Where the river meets the sea geology and landforms of the lower Coppermine River Valley and Kugluktuk, Nunavut. [Ottawa]: Geological Survey of Canada, 2001. ISBN 0-660-18550-4
  • Steele, Peter. The Man Who Mapped The Arctic: The Intrepid Life of George Back, Franklin's Lieutenant, 2003. ISBN 978-1551926483

External links[edit]