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Nunavut Geography

Nunavut, at over 2 million sq. km, (800,000 sq. miles), is Canada's largest territory covering nearly one-fifth of the country's landmass.

More than half of the Nunavut Territory is comprised of islands; major ones of size include Baffin, Devon, Ellesmere and Victoria.

The Queen Elizabeth archipelago (mostly frozen, snow covered rock) includes some 30 large islands and over 2,000 smaller ones. The Sverdrup Islands and Parry Islands are part of that group.

Baffin Island is the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world. Huge areas of its surface are still sheathed in ice year-round.

From the mountainous, fjord-indented northern coastline, Baffin Island land slopes south and west into plateaus and lowlands. There are numerous freshwater lakes and rivers on the island, thawed only for a brief spell in the Arctic summer.

Victoria Island is territorially divided between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. It's the eighth largest island in the world, and at 217,291 sq km (83,897 sq miles), Canada's second largest island.

The highest point in Nunavut is Barbeau Peak, at 2,616 m (8,583 ft). It stands in Quttinirpaaq National Park, a land of rock and ice and numerous glaciers.

The Canadian Shield, covering much of Nunavut below the Arctic Circle, is a base of granite covered by a shallow layer of soil. This flat to rolling landscape is covered by dozens of rivers and lakes, especially south and west.

About the Author

John Moen is a cartographer who along with his wife are the orignal founders of worldatlas.com. He and his wife, Chris Woolwine-Moen, produced thousands of award-winning maps that are used all over the world and content that aids students, teachers, travelers and parents with their geography and map questions. Today, it's one of the most popular educational sites on the web.

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2020.