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Ellesmere Island ( iu, script=Latn, Umingmak Nuna, lit=land of
muskox The muskox (''Ovibos moschatus'', in Latin "musky sheep-ox"), also spelled musk ox and musk-ox (in iu, ᐅᒥᖕᒪᒃ, umingmak; in Woods Cree Woods Cree is an autochthonous language spoken in Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan and N ...

muskox
en; french: Île d'Ellesmere) is Canada's northernmost and third largest island, and the tenth largest in the world. It comprises an area of , slightly smaller than Great Britain, and the total length of the island is . Lying within the
Arctic Archipelago The Arctic Archipelago, also known as the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is ...
, Ellesmere Island is considered part of the
Queen Elizabeth Islands The Queen Elizabeth Islands (french: Îles de la Reine-Élisabeth; formerly Parry Islands or Parry Archipelago) are the northernmost cluster of islands in Canada's Arctic Archipelago, split between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in Northern ...
.
Cape Columbia 300px, Map of Cape Columbia and the Lincoln Sea. Cape Columbia is the northernmost point of land of Canada, located on Ellesmere Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut. It marks the westernmost coastal point of Lincoln Sea in the Arctic Ocea ...
at 83°06′ is the most northerly point of land in Canada. (The
most northerly point of land The most northerly point of land on Earth is somewhere just north of mainland Greenland, but is a contentious issue due to variation of definition. How permanent some of the contenders are makes hard determination difficult, but sets an important ...
on Earth is the nearby
Kaffeklubben Island Kaffeklubben Island or Coffee Club Island ( da, Kaffeklubben Ø; kl, Inuit Qeqertaat) is an uninhabited island lying off the northern tip of Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory ...
of Greenland). The
Arctic Cordillera The Arctic Cordillera is a terrestrial ecozone in northern Canada characterized by a vast, deeply dissected chain of mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system ...
mountain system covers much of Ellesmere Island, making it the most mountainous in the Arctic Archipelago. More than one-fifth of the island is protected as
Quttinirpaaq National Park Quttinirpaaq National Park is located on the northeastern corner of Ellesmere Island Ellesmere Island ( iu, script=Latn, Umingmak Nuna, lit=land of muskoxen; french: Île d'Ellesmere) is Canada's northernmost and List of Canadian islands by ar ...
. In 2016, the population of Ellesmere Island was recorded at 191. There are three settlements: Alert,
Eureka Eureka often refers to: * Eureka (word) file:Eureka! Archimede.jpg, Archimedes exclaiming ''Eureka''. In his excitement, he forgets to dress and runs nude in the streets straight out of his bath ''Eureka'' ( grc, εὕρηκα) is an interjection ...
, and
Grise Fiord Grise Fiord (; iu, ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ, translit=Aujuittuq, lit=place that never thaws, italics=no) is an Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples ...

Grise Fiord
. Ellesmere Island is administered as part of the
Qikiqtaaluk Region The Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtani Region (Inuktitut syllabics: ᕿᑭᖅᑖᓗᒃ ) or Baffin Region is the easternmost, northernmost, and southernmost List of regions of Nunavut, administrative region of Nunavut, Canada. Qikiqtaaluk is the tra ...
in the
Canadian territory The provinces and territories of Canada () are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of Canada, Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of Br ...
of
Nunavut Nunavut ( iu, ᓄᓇᕗᑦ ; ) is the largest and northernmost provinces and territories of Canada, territory of Canada. It was separated officially from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999, via the ''Nunavut Act'' and the ''Nunavut ...
.


History

The first human inhabitants of Ellesmere Island were small bands drawn to the area for
Peary caribou The Peary caribou (''Rangifer tarandus pearyi'') is a subspecies In biological classification In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Bio ...

Peary caribou
,
muskox The muskox (''Ovibos moschatus'', in Latin "musky sheep-ox"), also spelled musk ox and musk-ox (in iu, ᐅᒥᖕᒪᒃ, umingmak; in Woods Cree Woods Cree is an autochthonous language spoken in Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan and N ...

muskox
, and
marine mammal Marine mammals are aquatic mammals that rely on the ocean and other marine ecosystems for their existence. They include animals such as Pinniped, seals, Cetacea, whales, Sirenia, manatees, sea otters and polar bears. They are an informal group, ...
hunting about 2000–1000 BCE. As was the case for the
Dorset Dorset (; archaically In language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system compose ...
(or
Paleo-Eskimo The Paleo-Eskimo (also pre-Thule or pre-Inuit) were the peoples who inhabited the Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adj ...
) hunters and the pioneering Neoeskimos, the post-Ruin Island and Late Thule culture
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
used the Bache Peninsula region extensively both summer and winter until environmental, ecological, and possibly social circumstances caused the area to be abandoned. It was the last region in the Canadian High Arctic to be depopulated during the
Little Ice Age The Little Ice Age (LIA) was a period of cooling that occurred after the Medieval Warm Period The Medieval Warm Period (MWP) also known as the Medieval Climate Optimum, or Medieval Climatic Anomaly was a time of warm climate Climate is the ...
, attesting to its general economic importance as part of the
Smith Sound Smith Sound ( da, Smith Sund; french: Détroit de Smith) is an uninhabited Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent ...
culture sphere of which it was occasionally a part and sometimes the principal settlement component.
Vikings Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skadesi-suolu''/''Skađsuâl''. ( ) is a in , with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. In ...

Vikings
from the
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
colonies reached Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island, and
Ruin Island Ruin Island is a small island off the coast of the Inglefield Land region of northwest Greenland. In the 1930s, Danish archaeologist Erik Holtved discovered the remains of human habitation on the island. The culture associated with this archae ...
during hunting expeditions and trading with the Inuit groups. Unusual structures on Bache Peninsula may be the remains of a late-period Dorset stone longhouse. The first European to sight the island after the height of the Little Ice Age was
William Baffin William Baffin ( – 23 January 1622) was an English navigator and explorer. He is primarily known for his attempt to discover a Northwest Passage from the North Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the North Pacific Ocean, Pacific, during the cours ...
in 1616. Ellesmere Island was named in 1852 by Edward Inglefield's expedition after the English politician
Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, (1 January 1800 – 18 February 1857), known as Lord Francis Leveson-Gower until 1833, was a British politician, writer, traveller and patron of the arts. Ellesmere Island, a major island (10th in size am ...
, who was President of the
Royal Geographical Society The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exists to promote an discipline (academia), academic disci ...
from 1853 to 1855. The US expedition led by
Adolphus Greely Adolphus Washington Greely (March 27, 1844 – October 20, 1935) was a United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the eight Uniformed ser ...

Adolphus Greely
in 1881 crossed the island from east to west, establishing
Fort Conger Fort Conger is a former settlement, military fortification, and scientific research post in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada. It was established in 1881 as an Arctic exploration camp, notable as the site of the first major northern polar re ...
in the northern part of the island. The Greely expedition found on Ellesmere Island in the late 1880s. Stenkul Fiord was first explored in 1902 by Per Schei, a member of
Otto Sverdrup Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup (31 October 1854, in Bindal, Helgeland – 26 November 1930) was a Norwegian sailor and Arctic explorer. Early and personal life He was born in Bindal as a son of farmer Ulrik Frederik Suhm Sverdrup (1833–1914) a ...

Otto Sverdrup
's 2nd Norwegian Polar Expedition. The Ellesmere Ice Shelf was documented by the
British Arctic Expedition The British Arctic Expedition of 1875–1876, led by Sir George Strong Nares Vice-Admiral Sir George Strong Nares (24 April 1831 – 15 January 1915) was a Royal Navy officer and Arctic explorer. He commanded the Challenger Expedition, ' ...
of 1875–76, in which Lieutenant
Pelham Aldrich Admiral Pelham Aldrich, Royal Victorian Order, CVO (8 December 1844 – 12 November 1930) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer, who became Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth Docks. Biography He was born in Mildenhall, Suffolk, Mildenhall, Suf ...
's party went from
Cape Sheridan Cape Sheridan is on the northeastern coast of Ellesmere Island Ellesmere Island (Inuktitut: ''Umingmak Nuna'', meaning "land of muskoxen"; french: Île d'Ellesmere) is Canada's northernmost and third largest island, and the tenth largest in ...
() west to Cape Alert (), including the
Ward Hunt Ice Shelf The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in the Arctic, located on the north coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. During the 20th century the Ellesmere Ice Shelf broke up into six separate shelves, the largest being Ward Hunt. Ward ...
. In 1906
Robert Peary Robert Edwin Peary Sr. (; May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) was an American explorer and officer in the United States Navy who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for, in Apri ...
led an expedition in northern Ellesmere Island, from Cape Sheridan along the coast to the western side of
Nansen Sound Nansen Sound is an uninhabited strait in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. It lies between western Grant Land on Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island.''Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Third Edition'', p. 789. Tanqua ...

Nansen Sound
(93°W). During Peary's expedition, the
ice shelf An ice shelf is a large floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it ca ...
was continuous; it has since been estimated to have covered . The ice shelf broke apart in the 20th century, presumably due to
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
.


Geography

Ellesmere Island is separated to the east by
Nares Strait , other_name = , image = Map indicating Nares Strait.png , alt = , caption = Nares Strait (boxed) is between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. , image_bathymetry = , alt_bathymetry ...
from
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, to the west by
Eureka Sound Eureka Sound is a high Arctic waterway in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. It separates Axel Heiberg Island from Ellesmere Island. Stor Island is located within the sound. Eureka Sound is long, and wide. Eureka, Nunavut, Fort Eu ...

Eureka Sound
and
Nansen Sound Nansen Sound is an uninhabited strait in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. It lies between western Grant Land on Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island.''Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Third Edition'', p. 789. Tanqua ...

Nansen Sound
from
Axel Heiberg Island Axel Heiberg Island (Inuktitut: ''ᐅᒥᖕᒪᑦ ᓄᓈᑦ,'' ''Umingmat Nunaat'') is an uninhabited island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada. Located in the Arctic Ocean, it is the list of islands by area, 32nd largest island in the w ...

Axel Heiberg Island
, and to the south by
Jones Sound Jones Sound is a waterway in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. It lies between Devon Island and the southern end of Ellesmere Island. At its northwestern end it is linked by several channels to Norwegian Bay; at its eastern end i ...
and
Cardigan StraitCardigan Strait is a narrow waterway in the territory of Nunavut. It lies between the eastern coast of Devon Island and the western coast of Ellesmere Island. Norwegian Bay opens to the north. North Kent Island is situated within the strait. A polyn ...
from
Devon Island Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north ...

Devon Island
. Ellesmere Island contains Canada's northernmost point,
Cape Columbia 300px, Map of Cape Columbia and the Lincoln Sea. Cape Columbia is the northernmost point of land of Canada, located on Ellesmere Island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut. It marks the westernmost coastal point of Lincoln Sea in the Arctic Ocea ...
, at 83°6′41″N.


Protected areas

More than one-fifth of the island is protected as
Quttinirpaaq National Park Quttinirpaaq National Park is located on the northeastern corner of Ellesmere Island Ellesmere Island ( iu, script=Latn, Umingmak Nuna, lit=land of muskoxen; french: Île d'Ellesmere) is Canada's northernmost and List of Canadian islands by ar ...
(formerly Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve), which includes seven
fjord In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδ ...

fjord
s and a variety of
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s, as well as
Lake Hazen Lake Hazen is often called the northernmost lake of Canada, in the northern part of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, but detailed maps show several smaller lakes up to more than farther north on Canada's northernmost island. Turnabout Lake is immediat ...
, North America's largest lake north of the
Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two s and the most northerly of the fiv ...

Arctic Circle
.
Barbeau Peak __NOTOC__ Barbeau Peak is a mountain in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. Located on Ellesmere Island within Quttinirpaaq National Park, it is the highest mountain in Nunavut and the Northern Canada, Canadian Arctic. The mountain w ...
, the highest mountain in Nunavut () is located in the
British Empire Range The British Empire Range is a mountain range on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The range is one of the most northern ranges in the world and the Arctic Cordillera, surpassed only by the Challenger Mountains which lies immediately to the nort ...
on Ellesmere Island. The most northern
mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, us ...

mountain range
in the world, the
Challenger Mountains The Challenger Mountains are a mountain range on Ellesmere Island in Nunavut, Canada. The range is the most northern range in the world and of the Arctic Cordillera. The highest mountain in the range is Commonwealth Mountain . The United States Ra ...
, is located in the northeast region of the island. The northern lobe of the island is called Grant Land. The
Arctic willow ''Salix arctica'', the Arctic willow, is a tiny creeping willow (family Salicaceae). It is adapted to survive in Arctic conditions, specifically tundras. Distribution The Arctic willow grows in tundra and rocky moorland, and is the List of nor ...

Arctic willow
is the only woody species to grow on Ellesmere Island. In July 2007, a study noted the disappearance of habitat for
waterfowl Anseriformes is an order Order or ORDER or Orders may refer to: * Orderliness Orderliness is associated with other qualities such as cleanliness Cleanliness is both the abstract state of being clean and free from germs, dirt, trash, or waste, ...

waterfowl
,
invertebrate Invertebrates are animals that neither possess nor develop a vertebral column (commonly known as a ''backbone'' or ''spine''), derived from the notochord. This includes all animals apart from the chordata, chordate subphylum vertebrate, Vertebra ...
s, and
algae Algae (; singular alga ) is an informal term for a large and diverse group of photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Co ...

algae
on Ellesmere Island. According to
John Smol John P. Smol, is a Canadian ecologist, limnologist and Paleolimnology, paleolimnologist who holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change in the Department of Biology at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. He founded and co-directs t ...
of Queen's University in
Kingston, Ontario Kingston is a city in Ontario, Canada. It is located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River and at the mouth of the Cataraqui River (south end of the Rideau Canal). The city is midway between Toronto, Ont ...
, and Marianne S. V. Douglas of the
University of Alberta The University of Alberta, also known as U of A or UAlberta, is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organizatio ...

University of Alberta
in
Edmonton Edmonton ( ) is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Central Albert ...

Edmonton
, warming conditions and evaporation have caused low water levels and changes in the chemistry of ponds and wetlands in the area. The researchers noted that "In the 1980s they often needed to wear hip waders to make their way to the ponds...while by 2006 the same areas were dry enough to burn."


Glaciers, ice caps and ice shelves

Large portions of Ellesmere Island are covered with glaciers and ice, with Manson Icefield () and Sydkap () in the south; Prince of Wales Icefield () and
Agassiz Ice Cap The Agassiz Ice Cap formerly Agassiz Glacier is an ice cap on the central eastern side of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. The Agassiz ice cap is about in area. It is located between the North Ellesmere ice field to the north and the Prince of W ...
() along the central-east side of the island, and the Northern Ellesmere icefields (). The northwest coast of Ellesmere Island was covered by a massive, long
ice shelf An ice shelf is a large floating platform of ice that forms where a glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it ca ...
until the 20th century. The Ellesmere Ice Shelf shrank by 90 percent in the 20th century due to warming trends in the Arctic, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s, a period when the largest (the T1 and the T2 ice islands) were formed leaving the separate , Ayles, Milne, Ward Hunt, and Markham Ice Shelves. A 1986 survey of Canadian ice shelves found that or of ice calved from the Milne and ice shelves between 1959 and 1974. The
Ward Hunt Ice Shelf The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is the largest ice shelf in the Arctic, located on the north coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada. During the 20th century the Ellesmere Ice Shelf broke up into six separate shelves, the largest being Ward Hunt. Ward ...
, the largest remaining section of thick (>10 m, >30 ft) landfast sea ice along the northern coastline of Ellesmere Island, lost of ice in a massive calving in 1961–1962. It further decreased by 27% in thickness () between 1967 and 1999. The breakup of the Ellesmere Ice Shelves has continued in the 21st century: the Ward Ice Shelf experienced a major breakup during the summer of 2002; the Ayles Ice Shelf calved entirely on August 13, 2005; the largest breakoff of the ice shelf in 25 years, it may pose a threat to the oil industry in the
Beaufort Sea The Beaufort Sea (; french: Mer de Beaufort) is a marginal sea This is a list of seas of the World Ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of Saline water, salt water that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface ...

Beaufort Sea
. The piece is . In April 2008, it was discovered that the Ward Hunt shelf was fractured, with dozens of deep, multi-faceted cracks and in September 2008 the Markham shelf () completely broke off to become floating
sea ice Sea ice arises as seawater Seawater, or salt water, is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, whic ...

sea ice
. A study published 2018 by White and Copland measured an areal reduction of 5.9% in 1773 glaciers in Northern Ellesmere island in the 16-year period 1999–2015 based on satellite data. In the same period 19 out of 27
ice tongue An ice tongue is a long and narrow sheet of ice Ice is water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an , transparent, tasteless, odorless, and , which is the main constituent of 's and the s of all known living organisms (in which it acts ...
s disintegrated to their grounding lines and ice shelves suffered a 42% loss in surface area.


Paleontology

Schei and later described the
Paleocene The Paleocene, ( ) or Palaeocene, is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language bel ...
-
Eocene The Eocene ( ) Epoch is a geological epoch In chronology 222px, Joseph Scaliger's ''De emendatione temporum'' (1583) began the modern science of chronology Chronology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the ...
(ca. 55 Ma)
fossil A fossil (from Classical Latin Classical Latin is the form of Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, inc ...

fossil
forest in the Stenkul Fiord sediments. The Stenkul Fiord site represents a series of and
floodplain A floodplain or flood plain or bottomlands is an area of land adjacent to a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows int ...
forests. The trees stood for at least 400 years. Individual stumps and stems of >1 m (>3 ft) diameter were abundant, and are identified as ''
Metasequoia ''Metasequoia'', or dawn redwoods, is a genus of fast-growing deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purpo ...

Metasequoia
'' and possibly ''
Glyptostrobus ''Glyptostrobus'' is a small genus of conifers in the family Cupressaceae (formerly in the family Taxodiaceae). The sole living species, ''Glyptostrobus pensilis'', is native to subtropical southeastern China, from Fujian west to southeast Yunn ...
''. Well preserved
Pliocene The Pliocene ( ; also Pleiocene) epoch (geology), Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58peat Peat (), also known as turf (), is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation Vegetation is an assemblage of species and the they provide. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular , life forms, structure, ...
s containing abundant vertebrate and plant
macrofossil Macrofossils, also known as megafossils, are preserved organic Organic may refer to: * Organic, of or relating to an organism, a living entity * Organic, of or relating to an anatomical organ (anatomy), organ Chemistry * Organic matter, matter th ...
s characteristic of a
boreal forest Taiga (; rus, тайга́, p=tɐjˈɡa; relates to Mongolic languages, Mongolic and Turkic languages, Turkic languages), generally referred to in North America as a boreal forest or snow forest, is a biome characterized by pinophyta, conifero ...

boreal forest
have been reported from
Strathcona Fiord Strathcona Fiord is a fiord on the west central coast of Ellesmere Island, the most northern island within the Arctic Archipelago, Nunavut, Canada. Geography Strathcona Fiord is a southern tributary of Bay Fiord. The landscape in the region is fr ...
. In 2006,
University of Chicago The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an abse ...
paleontologist Paleontology (), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current Geologic time scale, geological epoch. ...
Neil Shubin Neil Shubin (born December 22, 1960) is an American paleontology, paleontologist, evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer. He is the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, Associate Dean of ...

Neil Shubin
and
Academy of Natural Sciences The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, formerly the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, is the oldest natural science research institution and museum in the Americas. It was founded in 1812, by many of the leading natural ...

Academy of Natural Sciences
paleontologist
Ted Daeschler Edward B. 'Ted' Daeschler is an American vertebrate paleontologist and Associate Curator and Chair of Vertebrate Biology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. He is a specialist in Evolution of fish, fish paleontology, especially in ...
reported the discovery of the fossil of a
Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
(ca. 375 Ma) fish, named ''
Tiktaalik roseae ''Tiktaalik'' (; Inuktitut syllabics, Inuktitut ) is a monospecific genus of extinct sarcopterygian (lobe-finned fish) from the Late Devonian Period, about 375 Mya (million years ago), having many features akin to those of tetrapods (four-legged ...

Tiktaalik roseae
'', in the former
stream bed A stream bed or streambed is the channel bottom of a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; lit ...
s of Ellesmere Island. The fossil exhibits many characteristics of fish, but also indicates a transitional creature that may be a predecessor of
amphibian Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates of the Class (biology), class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terrestrial animal, ter ...
s,
reptile Reptiles, as most commonly defined, are the animals in the class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or ...

reptile
s, birds, and
mammal Mammals (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be i ...
s, including humans. In 2011, Jason P. Downs and co-authors described the
sarcopterygian Sarcopterygii (; ) — sometimes considered synonymous with Crossopterygii () — is a taxon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, ...

sarcopterygian
'' Laccognathus embryi'' from specimens collected from the same locality that ''Tiktaalik'' was found.


Insect ecology

Ellesmere Island is noted as being the northernmost occurrence of
eusocial Eusociality (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
insects; specifically, the
bumblebee A bumblebee (or bumble bee, bumble-bee, or humble-bee) is any of over 250 species in the genus ''Bombus'', part of Apidae, one of the bee families. This genus is the only Extant taxon, extant group in the tribe Bombini, though a few extinct ...

bumblebee
''
Bombus polaris ''Bombus polaris'' is a common Arctic bumblebee species. ''B. polaris'' is one of two bumblebees that live above the Arctic Circle. The other is its social parasite ''Bombus hyperboreus''. ''B. polaris'' is a social bee that can survive at near f ...
''. There is a second species of bumblebee occurring there, ''
Bombus hyperboreus ''Bombus hyperboreus'' is a species of Arctic bumblebee with a circumpolar distribution. The species is primarily found in the arctic areas of Greenland, northern Scandinavia, and Russia. In 2015 the nearctic species, ''Bombus natvigi'', was sepa ...
'', which is a parasite in the nests of ''B. polaris''. While non-eusocial, the Arctic woolly bear moth (''
Gynaephora groenlandica ''Gynaephora groenlandica'', the Arctic woolly bear moth, is an erebid moth native to the High Arctic The Arctic ( or ) is a polar regions of Earth, polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. The Arctic consists of the A ...

Gynaephora groenlandica
'') can also be found at Ellesmere Island. While this species generally has a 10-year life cycle, its life is known to extend to up to 14 years at both the
Alexandra Fiord Alexandra Fiord is a natural inlet An inlet is an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow, such as a small bay or arm, that often leads to an enclosed body of water, body of salt water, such as a Sound (geography), sound, bay, lago ...
lowland and Ellesmere Island.


Earth's magnetism

In 2015, the Earth's geomagnetic north pole was located at approximately , on Ellesmere Island. It is forecast to remain on Ellesmere Island in 2020, shifting to .


Population

In 2016, the population of Ellesmere Island was recorded as 191. There are three settlements on Ellesmere Island: Alert (pop. 62),Statistics Canada,
Grise_Fiord,_Hamlet,_and_Baffin,_Unorganized_[Census_subdivisions
/nowiki>.html" ;"title="ensus subdivisions">Grise Fiord, Hamlet, and Baffin, Unorganized [Census subdivisions
/nowiki>">ensus subdivisions">Grise Fiord, Hamlet, and Baffin, Unorganized [Census subdivisions
/nowiki> Nunavut'' (table), ''Census Profile'', 2016 Census of Population, Catalogue № 98‑316‑X2016001 (Ottawa: 2017‑11‑29) [accessed 2019‑10‑28].
Eureka Eureka often refers to: * Eureka (word) file:Eureka! Archimede.jpg, Archimedes exclaiming ''Eureka''. In his excitement, he forgets to dress and runs nude in the streets straight out of his bath ''Eureka'' ( grc, εὕρηκα) is an interjection ...
(permanent pop. 0, but home to a small temporary population), and
Grise Fiord Grise Fiord (; iu, ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ, translit=Aujuittuq, lit=place that never thaws, italics=no) is an Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples ...

Grise Fiord
(pop. 129), Politically, it is part of the
Qikiqtaaluk Region The Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtani Region (Inuktitut syllabics: ᕿᑭᖅᑖᓗᒃ ) or Baffin Region is the easternmost, northernmost, and southernmost List of regions of Nunavut, administrative region of Nunavut, Canada. Qikiqtaaluk is the tra ...
.


Alert

Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert is the northernmost settlement in the world. With the end of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
and the advent of new technologies allowing for remote interpretation of data, the overwintering population has been reduced to 62 civilians and military personnel as of 2016.


Eureka

Eureka (the third northernmost settlement in the world) consists of three areas:
Eureka Aerodrome Eureka Aerodrome is located at Eureka, Nunavut, Eureka, Nunavut, Canada, and is operated by Environment Canada. References External links

* Ellesmere Island Registered aerodromes in the Qikiqtaaluk Region {{Nunavut-airport-stub ...
, which includes Fort Eureka (the quarters for military personnel maintaining the island's communications equipment); the
Environment Canada Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC; french: Environnement et Changement climatique Canada)Environment and Climate Change Canada is the applied title under the Federal Identity Program on the Remote Manipulator System, Canadarm The Fede ...
Weather Station; and the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), formerly the Arctic Stratospheric Ozone (AStrO) Observatory. Eureka has the lowest average annual temperature and least precipitation of any weather station in Canada.


Grise Fiord

Grise Fiord Grise Fiord (; iu, ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ, translit=Aujuittuq, lit=place that never thaws, italics=no) is an Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples ...

Grise Fiord
(
Inuktitut Inuktitut (; , Inuktitut syllabics, syllabics ; from , "person" + , "like", "in the manner of"), also Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, is one of the principal Inuit languages of Canada. It is spoken in all areas north of the tree line, including part ...
: ,
romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspec ...
:
, lit. "place that never thaws") is an
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (litera ...
that, despite a population of only 129, is the largest community on Ellesmere Island. Located at the southern tip of Ellesmere Island, Grise Fiord lies 1,160 km (720 mi) north of the
Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two polar circle A polar circle is a geographic term for a conditional circular line (arc) referring either to the Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle is one of the two s and the most northerly of the fiv ...

Arctic Circle
. Grise Fiord is the northernmost civilian settlement in Canada. It is also one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, with an average yearly temperature of −16.5 °C (2.3 °F). Grise Fiord is cradled by the
Arctic Cordillera The Arctic Cordillera is a terrestrial ecozone in northern Canada characterized by a vast, deeply dissected chain of mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system ...
mountain range.


In popular culture

Ellesmere Island is the setting of much of
Melanie McGrath Melanie McGrath is a Romford Romford is a large town in East London and the administrative centre of the London Borough of Havering. It is located northeast of Charing Cross and is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London ...
’s ''The Long Exile: A True Story of Deception and Survival Amongst the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic'' about the
High Arctic relocation The High Arctic relocation (french: La délocalisation du Haut-Arctique, iu, ᖁᑦᑎᒃᑐᒥᐅᑦᑕ ᓅᑕᐅᓂᖏᑦ, Quttiktumut nuutauningit) took place during the Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitic ...
, and also of her Edie Kiglatuk mystery series. In the
2013 2013 was designated as: *International Year of Water Cooperation *International Year of Quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; or , from Quechuan languages, Quechua ' or ') is a flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae, amaranth family. It ...
American
superhero film A superhero film (or superhero movie) is a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere ...
'' Man of Steel'', Ellesmere Island was the site of a combined U.S.-Canadian scientific expedition to recover an ancient
Kryptonian Kryptonians are a fictional extraterrestrial race of humanoids within the DC Comics universe that originated on the planet Krypton (comics), Krypton. The term originated from the stories of DC Comics superhero, Superman. The stories also use "Kryp ...
spaceship Spaceship may refer to: Spaceflight * Space vehicle, the combination of launch vehicle and spacecraft * Spacecraft, a craft, vehicle, vessel or machine designed for spaceflight * Starship, a spacecraft built for interstellar flight Music * Spaces ...

spaceship
buried in the glacial ice pack. The island was the location for the 2014
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
programme ''Snow Wolf Family and Me''. Ellesmere Island (and in particular the Milne ice shelf) is a main location in
Dan Brown Daniel Gerhard Brown (born June 22, 1964) is an American author best known for his thriller Thriller may refer to: * Thriller (genre), a broad genre of literature, film and television ** Thriller film, a film genre under the general thriller ge ...
's novel '' Deception Point''. The 2008 documentary Exile by Zacharias Kunuk documents the experiences of Inuit families who were forcibly relocated to Ellesmere island in the 1950s to 'settle' it for the Canadian government. The families discuss being deceived by the Canadian government about the conditions and terms of where they were going and having to endure years of surviving in inhospitable conditions with little food or water.


See also

*
Nansen Sound Nansen Sound is an uninhabited strait in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Qikiqtaaluk, Nunavut, Canada. It lies between western Grant Land on Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island.''Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Third Edition'', p. 789. Tanqua ...

Nansen Sound
*
Ellesmere Island Volcanics The Ellesmere Island Volcanics are a Late Cretaceous The Late Cretaceous (100.5–66 Ma) is the younger of two epochs into which the Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a that lasted from about 145 to 66 (Mya). It is the third and final period ...
*
Lomonosov Ridge The Lomonosov Ridge (russian: Хребет Ломоносова, da, Lomonosovryggen) is an unusual underwater ridge of continental crust in the Arctic Ocean. It spans between the New Siberian Islands over the central part of the ocean to Elles ...
* Ledoyom *
Serson Ice Shelf The Serson Ice Shelf is a major ice shelf located on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada. It measured approximately until 60 percent of it broke away in two large sections during summer 2008. References

*
Strathcona Fiord Strathcona Fiord is a fiord on the west central coast of Ellesmere Island, the most northern island within the Arctic Archipelago, Nunavut, Canada. Geography Strathcona Fiord is a southern tributary of Bay Fiord. The landscape in the region is fr ...
* Borup Fiord Pass


References


Further reading

* * * *


External links


Ellesmere Island in the Atlas of Canada - Toporama; Natural Resources Canada

Mountains on Ellesmere Island

Detailed map, northern Ellesmere Island, including named capes, points, bays, and offshore islands
by
Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith Geoffrey Francis Hattersley-Smith Doctor of Philosophy, D.Phil, Royal Society of Canada, FRSC, Royal Geographical Society, FRGS, Arctic Institute of North America, FAINA (22 April 1923 – 21 July 2012) was an England, English-born geologist a ...

Norman E. Brice Report on Ellesmere Island
at Dartmouth College Library {{Authority control Islands of Baffin Bay Islands of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Islands of the Queen Elizabeth Islands Islands of Qikiqtaaluk Region