Laurentian Divide is a continental divide in North America
dividing the direction of water flow in eastern and southern Canada
from that of the northern Midwestern United States. The Laurentian
Divide separates the river systems that flow northwards to the Arctic
Hudson Bay from those that flow southwards to the Atlantic
Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The
Laurentian Divide runs
from its junction with the primary Continental Divide at Triple Divide
Peak in Glacier National Park in Montana, and terminates at Cape
Chidley on the Labrador Sea.
4 External links
A continental divide is a drainage divide such that the drainage basin
on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin
on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea. In the
Laurentian Divide, water north of the height of land flows to the
Arctic Ocean by rivers to
Hudson Bay or directly to the Arctic. Water
south of the divide makes its way to the
Atlantic Ocean by a variety
of streams, including the
Great Lakes and
Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River to the
east, and the
Mississippi River to the
Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico to the south.
Many sources consider
Hudson Bay to be part of the Atlantic
Ocean, not the Arctic, which would make the
Laurentian Divide a lesser
divide between the seas of one ocean.
On the northeast, the divide's terminus is at Cape Chidley's Killiniq
Island, on the
Labrador Sea where that sea meets Hudson Strait, which
connects to Hudson Bay. It cuts through eastern Canada, dips into the
United States, and re-enters
Canada before terminating in the Rocky
Mountains in the western United States.
On Killiniq Island, the divide forms the boundary between Labrador and
Nunavut, then a good portion of the Labrador-
Quebec border. It turns
west to cross central
Quebec and Ontario; it marks the original
northern boundary that both provinces held at the time of
Confederation in 1867, although both have since expanded significantly
northward. Waters east and south of the divide flow into the Labrador
Sea, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or the
Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River and the
Great Lakes which are drained by that river.
Marker sign for the Divide along Highway 101 in Ontario.
The divide crosses into the United States in northeast
the Height of Land Portage. Near Hibbing it forms a three-way divide
at the Hill of Three Waters (47°28′19″N 92°57′56″W /
47.47184°N 92.96549°W / 47.47184; -92.96549) where
the watersheds of the St. Lawrence and the
Mississippi River systems
meets with the
Hudson Bay basin. It crosses
Minnesota and enters South
Dakota at the Traverse Gap, thence enters and passes through North
Dakota to that state's northwestern corner. The U.S. sections of
the divide separate the watersheds of the Rainy River and Red River of
the North from the
Mississippi River basin. The divide formed the
northern boundary of the United States' Louisiana Purchase.
The divide crosses the southern parts of
Saskatchewan and Alberta
before dropping back into the United States where it meets the primary
Continental Divide at Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park in
Montana. The Laurentian Divide's western terminus is here, but the
watershed boundaries continue. The Arctic watershed's limit follows
the Continental (Great) Divide running north, forming part of the
Alberta-B.C. border, entering the interiors of B.C. and Yukon, forming
two segments of the Yukon-
Northwest Territories border, eventually
crossing into northern Alaska, through to that state's Lisburne
Peninsula and the sea.
^ Canada's watersheds, The Canadian Atlas Online
^ The North
Saskatchewan River, Great Canadian Rivers
^ Sanford, Robert W. (2010). Our World's Heritage: Creating a Culture
Worthy of Place in Canada's Western Mountain Parks. Athabasca
University Press. p. 160. ISBN 9781897425572.
^ Michael Pidwirny (2006). "Introduction to the Oceans".
www.physicalgeography.net. Archived from the original on 9 December
2006. Retrieved 2006-12-07.
^ Gonzalez, Mark A. (2003). "Continental Divides in
North Dakota and
North America" (PDF).
North Dakota Geological Survey Newsletter. 30
(1): 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-17.
^ L, Keith. "Hill of Three Waters or the Triple Divide". Historical
Marker Database, HMdb.org. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
^ "7 km NE of Hibbing, Minnesota, United States 7/1/1983". Microsoft
Research Terraserver. USGS. Retrieved 17 June 2011. See USGS map sheet
"Hibbing Quadrangle", Minnesota-St. Louis county, 7.5 minute series, a
marker is located at point labeled "three way watershed marker", a
point on the hill about 375 meters south of the truck shop on the
property of Hibbing Taconite Iron ore mining company.
^ "Continental Divides in
North Dakota and North America".
NationalAtlas.gov. Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved
U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Laurentian