Queen Elizabeth Islands

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Queen Elizabeth Islands, northern Canada.
  Nunavut
  Northwest Territories
  Quebec
  Greenland

The Queen Elizabeth Islands (French: Îles de la Reine-Élisabeth; formerly Parry Islands or Parry Archipelago) are the northernmost cluster of islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, split between Nunavut and Northwest Territories in Northern Canada. The Queen Elizabeth Islands contain approximately 14% of the global glacier and ice cap area.[1]

Geography[edit]

The islands, together 419,061 km2 (161,800 sq mi)[2] in area, were renamed as a group after Elizabeth II on her coronation as Queen of Canada in 1953. Most are uninhabited although the Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Geoscience Program Earth Sciences Sector (ESS), has monitors on the islands.[3] In 1969 Panarctic Oils, now part of Suncor began operating exploration oil wells in the Sverdrup and Franklinian basins and planned on establishing its resource base in the Queen Elizabeth Islands. It ceased production in the 1970s. At the 2013 GeoConvention the Arctic Islands region were called Canada’s perpetual "last petroleum exploration frontier". Hogg and Enachescu argued that the development and implementation of advanced marine and land seismic technologies in Alaska, Northern Europe and Siberia could be modified for use in the Queen Elizabeth Islands.[4]

First sighted by Europeans in 1616, the Queen Elizabeth Islands were not fully explored and charted until the British Northwest Passage expeditions and later Norwegian exploration of the 19th century.

These islands were known as the Parry Archipelago for over 130 years. They were first named after British Arctic explorer Sir William Parry, who sailed there in 1820, aboard the Hecla. Since the renaming of the archipelago in 1953, the term Parry Islands continued to be used for its southwestern part (less Ellesmere Island and Sverdrup Islands). The regional break down of the archipelago is therefore as follows:

  • Ellesmere Island
  • Sverdrup Islands
  • Parry Islands

Ellesmere Island is the northernmost and by far the largest. The Sverdrup Islands are located west of Ellesmere Island and north of Norwegian Bay. The remaining islands further south and west, but north of Lancaster Sound, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait have been carrying the name Parry Islands, which name until 1953 had also included the Sverdrup Islands and Ellesmere Island. South of Lancaster Sound, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait are the remaining islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Major islands[edit]

Many of the islands are among the largest in the world, the largest being Ellesmere Island. Other major islands include Amund Ringnes Island, Axel Heiberg Island, Bathurst Island, Borden Island, Cornwall Island, Cornwallis Island, Devon Island, Eglinton Island, Ellef Ringnes Island, Mackenzie King Island, Melville Island, and Prince Patrick Island.[2]

Smaller islands[edit]

Other smaller but notable islands include; Beechey Island (74°43′N 091°51′W / 74.717°N 91.850°W / 74.717; -91.850 (Beechey Island)), which held the graves of Petty Officer John Torrington, Royal Marine Private William Braine, and Able Seaman John Hartnell, three members of Sir John Franklin's crew,[5][6] Hans Island (80°49′41″N 066°27′35″W / 80.82806°N 66.45972°W / 80.82806; -66.45972 (Hans Island)), a small, uninhabited barren knoll measuring 1.3 km2 (0.50 sq mi) whose ownership is disputed by Canada and Denmark,[7] the Cheyne Islands (76°18′22″N 097°31′12″W / 76.30611°N 97.52000°W / 76.30611; -97.52000 (Cheyne Islands)), three small (0.73 km2 (0.28 sq mi) together) islands that are Important Bird Area (#NU049) and a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site (NU site 5)[8] and Skraeling Island (78°54′42″N 075°37′58″W / 78.91167°N 75.63278°W / 78.91167; -75.63278 (Skraeling Island)) an important archaeological site where Inuit (Dorset, Thule) and Norse artifacts have been found.[9] They consist of Silurian and Carboniferous rocks covered with tundra.

Population[edit]

With a population of less than 400, the islands are nearly uninhabited. There are only three permanently inhabited places in the islands. The two municipalities are the hamlets of Resolute (population 229 as of the 2006 census[10]), on Cornwallis Island, and Grise Fiord (population 141 as of the 2006 census),[11] on Ellesmere Island. Alert with a population of 5 as of the 2006 census[12] is an Environment Canada weather station, a Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) atmosphere monitoring laboratory on Ellesmere Island, has several temporary inhabitants due to the co-located CFS Alert. Eureka, a small research base on Ellesmere Island, has a population of zero but at least 8 staff on a continuous rotational basis.

      Abandoned       Permanent Settlement       Seasonally Occupied

Name Image Type Island Population Established Coordinates Notes
Alert
Alert 2.jpg
Weather Station, Military Station Ellesmere 5 1950[Note 1]

82°30′N 62°20′W / 82.500°N 62.333°W / 82.500; -62.333 (Alert)

Alexandra Fiord Science Research Station Ellesmere 0 1953

78°54′N 75°59′W / 78.900°N 75.983°W / 78.900; -75.983 (Alexandra Fiord)

Camp Hazen Warden Station Ellesmere 0 1957

81°49′N 62°19′W / 81.817°N 62.317°W / 81.817; -62.317 (Camp Hazen)

Craig Harbour Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachment Ellesmere 0

76°12′N 81°01′W / 76.200°N 81.017°W / 76.200; -81.017 (Craig Harbour)

Dundas Harbour Ellesmere 0

74°31′N 82°23′W / 74.517°N 82.383°W / 74.517; -82.383 (Dundas Harbour)

  • established in 1924 to create a government presence to curb foreign whaling and other activity in the area[14]
Eureka
Downtown Eureka, Nunavut -e.jpg
Research Station Ellesmere 0 1947

79°59′N 82°23′W / 79.983°N 82.383°W / 79.983; -82.383 (Dundas Harbour)

  • Was founded in 1947 as part of a requirement to set up a network of Arctic weather stations
Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
FMARS 2009 hab.jpg
Research Station Devon 0 1999

75°25′N 89°49′W / 75.417°N 89.817°W / 75.417; -89.817 (Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station)

  • The structures were built in 2000
Fort Conger
Fort Conger, Grinnell Land, May 20, 1883.jpg
Research Station Ellesmere 0 1883

81°43′N 64°43′W / 81.717°N 64.717°W / 81.717; -64.717 (Fort Conger)

  • Established in 1881 but abandoned several decades later
Grise Fiord
Downtown Grise Fiord.jpg
Hamlet Ellesmere 130 1953 76°25′N 82°53′W / 76.417°N 82.883°W / 76.417; -82.883 (Grise Fiord)
  • Grise Fiord is the northernmost civilian settlement in Canada
Isachsen
Isachsen-1974-bw-1b.jpg
Weather Station, Research Station Ellef Ringnes 0 1948 78°46′N 103°29′W / 78.767°N 103.483°W / 78.767; -103.483 (Isachsen)
McGill Arctic Research Station Research Station Ellesmere 0 1959 79°20′N 91°58′W / 79.333°N 91.967°W / 79.333; -91.967 (McGill Arctic Research Station)
  • Owned by McGill University
Mould Bay Weather Station, Airport Prince Patrick 0 1948 76°14′N 119°19′W / 76.233°N 119.317°W / 76.233; -119.317 (Mould Bay)
Resolute
Resolute Bay 1 1997-08-02.jpg
Hamlet Cornwallis 229 1947

74°41′N 94°49′W / 74.683°N 94.817°W / 74.683; -94.817 (Resolute)

  • Most populous settlement in the Queen Elizabeth Islands
  • The community is second most northernmost community in Canada, only behind Grise Fiord

Formerly manned stations were Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island, Isachsen on Ellef Ringnes Island, and Fort Conger on Ellesmere Island.

Abandoned settlements are Dundas Harbour on Devon Island and Craig Harbour on Ellesmere Island.

Administration[edit]

Until 1999, the Queen Elizabeth Islands were part of the Baffin Region of the Northwest Territories.

With the creation of the Nunavut in 1999 all islands and fractions of islands of the archipelago east of the 110th meridian west became part of Qikiqtaaluk Region of the new territory, which was the major portion of the archipelago. The rest remained with the now-reduced Northwest Territories. Borden Island, Mackenzie King Island and Melville Island were divided between the two territories.

Prince Patrick Island, Eglinton Island and Emerald Island are the only notable islands that are now completely part of the Northwest Territories.

Below the level of the territory, there is the municipal level of administration. On that level, there are only two municipalities, Resolute and Grise Fiord, with an aggregate area of 450 km2 (170 sq mi) (0.11 percent of the area of the Queen Elizabeth Islands), but with most of the population of the archipelago (370 out of 375). The remaining 99.89 percent are unincorporated area, with a census 2006 population of five, all in Alert.

Overview of the islands[edit]

According to the Atlas of Canada there are 34 larger and 2,092 smaller islands in the archipelago.[2] With the exception of Ellesmere Island, they fall into two groups, the Sverdrup Islands and the Parry Islands:

Island sub-
group
Territory Peak Height
m
Height
ft
Area
km²
Area
sq mi
Rank
Canada
Rank
World
Coordinates
Alexander[15] 02Parry NU average elevation 60–180 200–590 484 187 66   75°52′N 102°37′W / 75.867°N 102.617°W / 75.867; -102.617 (Alexander Island)
Amund Ringnes[16] 27Sverdrup NU ridge 265 869 5,255 2,029 25 111 77°53′N 095°30′W / 77.883°N 95.500°W / 77.883; -95.500 (Amund Ringnes Island)
Axel Heiberg[17] 28Sverdrup NU Outlook Peak 2,210 7,250 43,178 16,671 7 32 79°26′N 090°46′W / 79.433°N 90.767°W / 79.433; -90.767 (Axel Heiberg Island)
Baillie-Hamilton Island[18] 03Parry NU   200 660 290 110 91   75°53′N 094°35′W / 75.883°N 94.583°W / 75.883; -94.583 (Baillie-Hamilton Island)
Bathurst[19] 04Parry NU Stokes Mountain 412 1,352 16,042 6,194 13 54 75°46′N 099°47′W / 75.767°N 99.783°W / 75.767; -99.783 (Bathurst Island)
Borden[20] 05Parry NU/NT   150 490 2,794 1,079 30 170 78°33′N 111°10′W / 78.550°N 111.167°W / 78.550; -111.167 (Borden Island)
Brock[21] 06Parry NT   67 220 764 295 58 383 77°51′N 114°27′W / 77.850°N 114.450°W / 77.850; -114.450 (Brock Island)
Buckingham Island[22] 07Parry NU Mount Windsor 150 490 137 53 137   77°12′N 091°00′W / 77.200°N 91.000°W / 77.200; -91.000 (Buckingham Island)
Byam Martin[23] 08Parry NU   153 502 1,150 440 42 294 75°12′N 104°17′W / 75.200°N 104.283°W / 75.200; -104.283 (Byam Martin Island)
Cameron[24] 09Parry NU Mount Wilmot     1,059 409 46 312 77°48′N 101°51′W / 77.800°N 101.850°W / 77.800; -101.850 (Cameron Island)
Coburg Island[25] 10Parry NU   800 2,600 411 159 83   75°57′N 079°18′W / 75.950°N 79.300°W / 75.950; -79.300 (Coburg Island)
Cornwall[26] 29Sverdrup NU McLeod Peak 400 1,300 2,358 910 31 184 77°37′N 094°52′W / 77.617°N 94.867°W / 77.617; -94.867 (Cornwall Island)
Cornwallis[27] 11Parry NU   343 1,125 6,995 2,701 21 96 75°05′N 095°00′W / 75.083°N 95.000°W / 75.083; -95.000 (Cornwallis Island)
Devon[28] 12Parry NU Devon Ice Cap 1,920 6,300 55,247 21,331 6 27 75°08′N 087°51′W / 75.133°N 87.850°W / 75.133; -87.850 (Devon Island)
Eglinton[29] 13Parry NT   200 660 1,541 595 36 249 75°46′N 118°27′W / 75.767°N 118.450°W / 75.767; -118.450 (Eglinton Island)
Ellef Ringnes[30] 30Sverdrup NU Isachsen Dome 260 850 11,295 4,361 16 69 78°37′N 101°56′W / 78.617°N 101.933°W / 78.617; -101.933 (Ellef Ringnes Island)
Ellesmere[31] 01 NU Barbeau Peak 2,616 8,583 196,236 75,767 3 10 80°10′N 079°05′W / 80.167°N 79.083°W / 80.167; -79.083 (Ellesmere Island)
Emerald Isle[32] 14Parry NT   150 490 549 212 63 466 76°48′N 114°07′W / 76.800°N 114.117°W / 76.800; -114.117 (Emerald Isle)
Graham[33] 31Sverdrup NU   175 574 1,378 532 38 265 77°26′N 090°30′W / 77.433°N 90.500°W / 77.433; -90.500 (Graham Island)
Griffith Island[34] 15Parry NU       189 73 110   74°35′N 095°30′W / 74.583°N 95.500°W / 74.583; -95.500 (Griffith Island)
Helena Island[35] 16Parry NU average in southern hills 220 720 327 126 85   76°40′N 101°00′W / 76.667°N 101.000°W / 76.667; -101.000 (Helena Island)
Hoved Island[36] 17Parry NU       158 61 125   77°32′N 085°09′W / 77.533°N 85.150°W / 77.533; -85.150 (Hoved Island)
Île Vanier[37] 18Parry NU   200 660 1,126 435 44 298 76°10′N 103°15′W / 76.167°N 103.250°W / 76.167; -103.250 (Île Vanier)
King Christian[38] 32Sverdrup NU King Christian Mountain 165 541 645 249 60 420 77°45′N 102°00′W / 77.750°N 102.000°W / 77.750; -102.000 (King Christian Island)
Little Cornwallis Island[39] 19Parry NU       412 159 75   75°30′N 096°30′W / 75.500°N 96.500°W / 75.500; -96.500 (Little Cornwallis Island)
Lougheed[40] 20Parry NU   60–110 200–360 1,308 505 41 273 77°24′N 105°15′W / 77.400°N 105.250°W / 77.400; -105.250 (Lougheed Island)
Lowther Island[41] 21Parry NU raised beach 106.5 349 145 56 133   74°33′N 097°30′W / 74.550°N 97.500°W / 74.550; -97.500 (Lowther Island)
Mackenzie King[42] 22Parry NU/NT Castel Butte 300 980 5,048 1,949 26 115 77°43′N 111°57′W / 77.717°N 111.950°W / 77.717; -111.950 (Mackenzie King Island)
Massey[43] 23Parry NU   210 690 432 167 71   75°59′N 102°58′W / 75.983°N 102.967°W / 75.983; -102.967 (Massey Island)
Meighen[44] 33Sverdrup NU   260 850 955 369 50 337 79°59′N 099°30′W / 79.983°N 99.500°W / 79.983; -99.500 (Meighen Island)
Melville[45] 24Parry NU/NT   776 2,546 42,149 16,274 8 33 75°30′N 111°30′W / 75.500°N 111.500°W / 75.500; -111.500 (Melville Island)
North Kent[46] 25Parry NU   600 2,000 590 230 62 453 76°40′N 090°15′W / 76.667°N 90.250°W / 76.667; -90.250 (North Kent Island)
Prince Patrick[47] 26Parry NT   279 915 15,848 6,119 14 55 76°45′N 119°30′W / 76.750°N 119.500°W / 76.750; -119.500 (Prince Patrick Island)
Stor Island[48] 34Sverdrup NU   500 1,600 313 121 87   78°59′N 085°50′W / 78.983°N 85.833°W / 78.983; -85.833 (Stor Island)
remaining 2,092 islands[2] NU/NT 2,321 896 ... ...
Queen Elizabeth[2]   NU/NT Barbeau Peak 2,616 8,583 419,061 161,800 ... ... 78°05′N 095°10′W / 78.083°N 95.167°W / 78.083; -95.167 (Queen Elizabeth Islands)Coordinates: 78°05′N 095°10′W / 78.083°N 95.167°W / 78.083; -95.167 (Queen Elizabeth Islands)

Glaciers and ice caps[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth Islands contain four glaciers that represent c.14% of all glaciers and ice caps in the world.[1] According to a 2011 report, the largest of the four, the Devon Ice Cap measured 1,699 km2 (656 sq mi)(northwest sector only); the Meighen Ice Cap measured 75 km2 (29 sq mi); the Melville South Ice Cap measured 52 km2 (20 sq mi) and the White Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island glacier was 39 km2 (15 sq mi).[1] The size of these glaciers has been measured since 1961 and their results published in such distinguished journals as the International Glaciological Society's Annals of Glaciology.[1][49][50] Of the four ice caps that the federal government's NRCan’s Climate Change Geoscience Program Earth Sciences Sector (ESS), monitors onsite in the Canadian High Arctic, three are in the Queen Elizabeth Islands: Devon, Meighen and Melville.[3] In a memo to Earth Sciences Sector (ESS) in Canada’s High Arctic indicates that shrinking of ice caps started in the late 1980s, and has accelerated rapidly since 2005,” says an October 2013 memo to NRCan’s deputy minister, who reports to federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

Computer analysis of a glacier inventory of Axel Heiberg Island was undertaken in the 1960s.[51] Later inventories of the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the direction of Fritz Müller, who worked on glacier inventories internationally, included the Axel Heiberg Island glacier.[52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Sharp, Martin; Burgess, David O.; Cogley, J. Graham; Ecclestone, Miles; Labine, Claude; Wolken, Gabriel J. (9 June 2011). "Extreme melt on Canada’s Arctic ice caps in the 21st century" (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters 38. Bibcode:2011GeoRL..3811501S. doi:10.1029/2011GL047381. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sea islands:[dead link] Atlas of Canada; Natural Resources Canada
  3. ^ a b Fekete, Jason (18 February 2014). "Canada’s Arctic ice caps melting rapidly since 2005, according to documents". Postmedia. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Hogg, John R.; Enachescu, Michael E (2013), Reviving Exploration in the Arctic Islands: Opportunities and Challenges from an Operator’s Perspective, Calgary, Alberta 
  5. ^ Researches for Sir John Franklin
  6. ^ Franklin timeline[dead link]
  7. ^ Greenland, Canada squabbling over pet rock
  8. ^ Cheyne Islands[dead link]
  9. ^ Vikings: the Arctic's first European visitors
  10. ^ 2006 Census - Resolute
  11. ^ 2006 Census - Grise Fiord
  12. ^ Statistics Canada
  13. ^ "Grise Fiord Community History". The Qikiqtani Truth Commission. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Dundas Harbour - August 17th, 2013". Polar Trec. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  15. ^ Alexander Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  16. ^ Amund Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  17. ^ Axel Heiberg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  18. ^ Baillie-Hamilton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  19. ^ Bathurst Island at Bivouac.com
  20. ^ Borden Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  21. ^ Brock Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  22. ^ Buckingham Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  23. ^ Byam Martin Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  24. ^ Cameron Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  25. ^ Coburg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  26. ^ Cornwall Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  27. ^ Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  28. ^ Devon Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  29. ^ Eglinton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  30. ^ Ellef Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  31. ^ Ellesmere Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  32. ^ Emerald Isle at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  33. ^ Graham Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  34. ^ Griffith Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  35. ^ Helena Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  36. ^ Hoved Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  37. ^ Île Vanier at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  38. ^ King Christian Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  39. ^ Little Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  40. ^ Lougheed Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  41. ^ Lowther Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  42. ^ Mackenzie King Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  43. ^ Massey Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  44. ^ Meighen Island at arctic.uoguelph.ca
  45. ^ Melville Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  46. ^ North Kent Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  47. ^ Prince Patrick Island at peakbagger.com
  48. ^ Stor Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  49. ^ Cogley, J. G.; Adams, W. P.; Ecclestone, M. A.; Jung‐Rothenhausler, F.; Ommaney, C. S. L. (1996). "Mass balance of White Glacier, Axel Heiberg Island, NWT, Canada, 1960–91". Journal of Glaciology 42: 548–563. 
  50. ^ Koerner, R. M. (2005). "Mass balance of glaciers in the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut, Canada". Annals of Glaciology 42: 417–423,. doi:10.3189/172756405781813122. 
  51. ^ Ommanney, C. S.L.; Goodman, R. H.; Müller, Fritz (1969). "Computer Analysis of a Glacier Inventory of Axel Heiberg Island: Canadian Arctic Archipelago". Hydrological Sciences Journal 14: 19–28. doi:10.1080/02626666909493698. 
  52. ^ Lang, Herbert (21 Dec 2009) [1981]. "Obituary Fritz Muller". Hydrological Sciences Bulletin (Zürich, Switzerland) 26 (3): 332–333. doi:10.1080/02626668109490893. 
  1. ^ The weather station was established in 1950 and the military station was established in 1958

External links[edit]