originating in the Precambrian
era, over 600 million years ago, when our planet was
still young. Tree stumps found on
Axel Heiberg Island in 1985
date back 40 million years, to a time when even this
most northerly part of the ecozone must have been warmer
and wetter. No longer. Now, the extremely cold climate
keeps the terrain treeless.
The vast mountain chain that winds its way though this
area is one of Canada’s two major ranges (the
other being the Rockies in the West). The chain includes
the Baffin Mountains on northeastern Baffin Island,
and the Torngat Mountains at the northern tip of Labrador.
Along with the other landforms here, the high mountains
offer spectacular scenery, some of it in the three National
Parks of the area – Quttinirpaaq (Inuktitut for
“Top of the World”), on Ellesmere Island;
Sirmilik (“Place of Glaciers”), on Baffin
Island; and Auyuittuq (“The Land that Never Melts”),
also on Baffin Island, where the
Penny Ice Cap spreads an enormous
white mantle across 6000 square kilometres.
||Winds blast Adams Glacier
in Quttinirpaaq National Park, Nunavut; Park Wardens working
in Canada's Far North face these extreme conditions.
|Image © Parks Canada Ref.
Photograph by W. Lynch