Monday, 15 February 2010

Icey Hand of God

The Gull Glacier ("Hand of God") at Tanquary Fiord, Quttinirpaaq (=the land most at the top”) National Park, Ellesmere island, Canada.

Most of Ellesmere island is a polar desert, deeply incised by fiords, with a stunning scenery of glaciers, mountains and nunataks, including Lake Hazen, the world's largest lake north of the Arctic Circle.

The rare vegetation of its snow-free areas supports herds of musk oxen, caribou, and polar bears, as well as the Arctic hare and birds such as the Artic Tern and Owl; marine mammals also abound at the shores.

The first inhabitants of Ellesmere Island were small groups of Inuit drawn to the area for hunting about 1000-2000 B.C.; then came the Vikings from Greenland, to trade, and finally europeans at 1616.

There are two inhabitated areas in the island: the arctic station Alert, for scientific and military purposes, and the inuit settlement of Grisefiord (Aujuittuq); I will soon publish a post on Grisefiord.