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Eastern Arctic Lowlands

Seabird colony, Prince Leopold Island
Seabird colony,
Prince Leopold Island


And yet there is only
One great thing,
The only thing,
To live to see in huts and on journeys
The great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

Song recorded by the Fifth
Thule Expedition, 1924


In this region, sedimentary strata overlie Precambrian bedrock, resulting in low-lying plains and smooth plateaux, especially in the southern portions: "[the coast] is simply a ribbon of granite rising just above the high tide contour, at low water hemmed by ... a rocky tidal flat with a sprinkling of granite isles and reefs.... It was a desolate shore.... There seemed to be no elevations even 50 feet within a dozen miles of the coast." These were the words of explorer George Putnam in 1928.

Tidal flats over 10 kilometres wide are festooned with "growlers" and ice floes, sculpted into mushroom-like shapes by tide-driven waters.

The two largest lakes in the Arctic Islands, Nettilling and Anadjuak, lie in the middle of the lowlands of southwestern Baffin Island. Inland is a flat country of marshy plains interspersed with bare rock, ponds and lakes.

Hoodoos, Baffin Island
Hoodoos, Baffin Island

The northern portions of the region present a contrast to the horizontal coastline and sodden lowlands of the south. The land rises abruptly to a high plateau. Several spectacular fiords slash inland, with sheer cliffs rising over 1,000 metres. The climate is bitterly cold, with overcast conditions prevailing much of the time. Precipitation is limited, creating desert conditions.

National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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