Great Canadian Parks / Nunavut

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The Parks / Nunavut / Ellesmere Island National Park






The Grant Land Mountains, a jagged chain of sedimentary rock, extend across the northern part of the island, rising straight out of the ocean and ending as part of the giant icecaps that dominate much of the island's interior. Ice fields as thick as 900 metres cloak these mountains, remnants of the last continental glaciation. Mount Barbeau, the highest mountain in eastern North America, rises to a height of 2616 metres. Shore-fast ice up to 80 metres thick has clung to the coastline in some places for thousands of years. These ice shelves which extend out for hundreds of square kilometres are partially covered by seawater at high tide. Along the coast too, floe ice forms a continuous sheet across the oceanŽs surface until well into summer.

 



In the Eureka Upland, the Hazen Plateau lies sandwiched amid large protective mountain ranges and icefields. 24-hour summer sunshine reflecting off the waters of Lake Hazen and the Tanquary Fiord for 147 consecutive days creates a thermal oasis resulting in 70 frost-free days annually in the midst of a polar desert. Fed by multiple glacier inflows, Lake Hazen is home to an unusual abundance of flora and fauna for that northern latitude. The Arctic Char population is presently being monitored with sport fishing within the park becoming a possibility in the future. Ruggles River, the only draining outflow, is generally ice free at the source, although the lake itself does retain some portion of ice cover through out the year.



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