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 NRCan’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 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 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.

Only seasonally occupied are Camp Hazen on Ellesmere Island, McGill Arctic Research Station on Axel Heiberg Island, and Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station on Devon Island.

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 99.09 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:

Islandsub-
group
TerritoryPeakHeight
m
Height
ft
Area
km²
Area
sq mi
Rank
Canada
Rank
World
Coordinates
Alexander[13]02ParryNUaverage elevation700160000000000000060–180200–590700248400000000000048418766 75°52′N 102°37′W / 75.867°N 102.617°W / 75.867; -102.617 (Alexander Island)
Amund Ringnes[14]27SverdrupNUridge700226500000000000026586970035255000000000005,2552,0292511177°53′N 095°30′W / 77.883°N 95.500°W / 77.883; -95.500 (Amund Ringnes Island)
Axel Heiberg[15]28SverdrupNUOutlook Peak70032210000000000002,2107,250700443178000000000043,17816,67173279°26′N 090°46′W / 79.433°N 90.767°W / 79.433; -90.767 (Axel Heiberg Island)
Baillie-Hamilton Island[16]03ParryNU 7002200000000000000200660700229000000000000029011091 75°53′N 094°35′W / 75.883°N 94.583°W / 75.883; -94.583 (Baillie-Hamilton Island)
Bathurst[17]04ParryNUStokes Mountain70024120000000000004121,352700416042000000000016,0426,194135475°46′N 099°47′W / 75.767°N 99.783°W / 75.767; -99.783 (Bathurst Island)
Borden[18]05ParryNU/NT 700215000000000000015049070032794000000000002,7941,0793017078°33′N 111°10′W / 78.550°N 111.167°W / 78.550; -111.167 (Borden Island)
Brock[19]06ParryNT 70016700000000000006722070027640000000000007642955838377°51′N 114°27′W / 77.850°N 114.450°W / 77.850; -114.450 (Brock Island)
Buckingham Island[20]07ParryNUMount Windsor7002150000000000000150490700213700000000000013753137 77°12′N 091°00′W / 77.200°N 91.000°W / 77.200; -91.000 (Buckingham Island)
Byam Martin[21]08ParryNU 700215300000000000015350270031150000000000001,1504404229475°12′N 104°17′W / 75.200°N 104.283°W / 75.200; -104.283 (Byam Martin Island)
Cameron[22]09ParryNUMount Wilmot  70031059000000000001,0594094631277°48′N 101°51′W / 77.800°N 101.850°W / 77.800; -101.850 (Cameron Island)
Coburg Island[23]10ParryNU 70028000000000000008002,600700241100000000000041115983 75°57′N 079°18′W / 75.950°N 79.300°W / 75.950; -79.300 (Coburg Island)
Cornwall[24]29SverdrupNUMcLeod Peak70024000000000000004001,30070032358000000000002,3589103118477°37′N 094°52′W / 77.617°N 94.867°W / 77.617; -94.867 (Cornwall Island)
Cornwallis[25]11ParryNU 70023430000000000003431,12570036995000000000006,9952,701219675°05′N 095°00′W / 75.083°N 95.000°W / 75.083; -95.000 (Cornwallis Island)
Devon[26]12ParryNUDevon Ice Cap70031920000000000001,9206,300700455247000000000055,24721,33162775°08′N 087°51′W / 75.133°N 87.850°W / 75.133; -87.850 (Devon Island)
Eglinton[27]13ParryNT 700220000000000000020066070031541000000000001,5415953624975°46′N 118°27′W / 75.767°N 118.450°W / 75.767; -118.450 (Eglinton Island)
Ellef Ringnes[28]30SverdrupNUIsachsen Dome7002260000000000000260850700411295000000000011,2954,361166978°37′N 101°56′W / 78.617°N 101.933°W / 78.617; -101.933 (Ellef Ringnes Island)
Ellesmere[29]01NUBarbeau Peak70032616000000000002,6168,5837005196236000000000196,23675,76731080°10′N 079°05′W / 80.167°N 79.083°W / 80.167; -79.083 (Ellesmere Island)
Emerald Isle[30]14ParryNT 700215000000000000015049070025490000000000005492126346676°48′N 114°07′W / 76.800°N 114.117°W / 76.800; -114.117 (Emerald Isle)
Graham[31]31SverdrupNU 700217500000000000017557470031378000000000001,3785323826577°26′N 090°30′W / 77.433°N 90.500°W / 77.433; -90.500 (Graham Island)
Griffith Island[32]15ParryNU   700218900000000000018973110 74°35′N 095°30′W / 74.583°N 95.500°W / 74.583; -95.500 (Griffith Island)
Helena Island[33]16ParryNUaverage in southern hills7002220000000000000220720700232700000000000032712685 76°40′N 101°00′W / 76.667°N 101.000°W / 76.667; -101.000 (Helena Island)
Hoved Island[34]17ParryNU   700215800000000000015861125 77°32′N 085°09′W / 77.533°N 85.150°W / 77.533; -85.150 (Hoved Island)
Île Vanier[35]18ParryNU 700220000000000000020066070031126000000000001,1264354429876°10′N 103°15′W / 76.167°N 103.250°W / 76.167; -103.250 (Île Vanier)
King Christian[36]32SverdrupNUKing Christian Mountain700216500000000000016554170026450000000000006452496042077°45′N 102°00′W / 77.750°N 102.000°W / 77.750; -102.000 (King Christian Island)
Little Cornwallis Island[37]19ParryNU   700241200000000000041215975 75°30′N 096°30′W / 75.500°N 96.500°W / 75.500; -96.500 (Little Cornwallis Island)
Lougheed[38]20ParryNU 700160000000000000060–110200–36070031308000000000001,3085054127377°24′N 105°15′W / 77.400°N 105.250°W / 77.400; -105.250 (Lougheed Island)
Lowther Island[39]21ParryNUraised beach7002106500000000000106.5349700214500000000000014556133 74°33′N 097°30′W / 74.550°N 97.500°W / 74.550; -97.500 (Lowther Island)
Mackenzie King[40]22ParryNU/NTCastel Butte700230000000000000030098070035048000000000005,0481,9492611577°43′N 111°57′W / 77.717°N 111.950°W / 77.717; -111.950 (Mackenzie King Island)
Massey[41]23ParryNU 7002210000000000000210690700243200000000000043216771 75°59′N 102°58′W / 75.983°N 102.967°W / 75.983; -102.967 (Massey Island)
Meighen[42]33SverdrupNU 700226000000000000026085070029550000000000009553695033779°59′N 099°30′W / 79.983°N 99.500°W / 79.983; -99.500 (Meighen Island)
Melville[43]24ParryNU/NT 70027760000000000007762,546700442149000000000042,14916,27483375°30′N 111°30′W / 75.500°N 111.500°W / 75.500; -111.500 (Melville Island)
North Kent[44]25ParryNU 70026000000000000006002,00070025900000000000005902306245376°40′N 090°15′W / 76.667°N 90.250°W / 76.667; -90.250 (North Kent Island)
Prince Patrick[45]26ParryNT 7002279000000000000279915700415848000000000015,8486,119145576°45′N 119°30′W / 76.750°N 119.500°W / 76.750; -119.500 (Prince Patrick Island)
Stor Island[46]34SverdrupNU 70025000000000000005001,600700231300000000000031312187 78°59′N 085°50′W / 78.983°N 85.833°W / 78.983; -85.833 (Stor Island)
remaining 2,092 islands[2]NU/NT70032321000000000002,321896......
Queen Elizabeth[2] NU/NTBarbeau Peak70032616000000000002,6168,5837005419061000000000419,061161,800......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.[47][48][1] 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.[49] 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.[50]

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. 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, GeoConvention 2013: Integration, 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. ^ Alexander Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  14. ^ Amund Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  15. ^ Axel Heiberg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  16. ^ Baillie-Hamilton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  17. ^ Bathurst Island at Bivouac.com
  18. ^ Borden Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  19. ^ Brock Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  20. ^ Buckingham Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  21. ^ Byam Martin Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  22. ^ Cameron Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  23. ^ Coburg Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  24. ^ Cornwall Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  25. ^ Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  26. ^ Devon Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  27. ^ Eglinton Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  28. ^ Ellef Ringnes Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  29. ^ Ellesmere Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  30. ^ Emerald Isle at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  31. ^ Graham Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  32. ^ Griffith Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  33. ^ Helena Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  34. ^ Hoved Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  35. ^ Île Vanier at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  36. ^ King Christian Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  37. ^ Little Cornwallis Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  38. ^ Lougheed Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  39. ^ Lowther Island[dead link] at the Atlas of Canada
  40. ^ Mackenzie King Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  41. ^ Massey Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  42. ^ Meighen Island at arctic.uoguelph.ca
  43. ^ Melville Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  44. ^ North Kent Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  45. ^ Prince Patrick Island at peakbagger.com
  46. ^ Stor Island at the Wayback Machine (archived December 23, 2010) at oceandots.com
  47. ^ 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. 
  48. ^ 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. 
  49. ^ 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. 
  50. ^ Lang, Herbert (21 Dec 2009) [1981]. "Obituary Fritz Muller". Hydrological Sciences Bulletin (Zurich, Switzerland) 26 (3): 332–333. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 

External links[edit]