Axel Heiberg Island (Nunavut, Arctic Canada)

Cruise Port schedule, map, terminals, news

Arctic - Antarctica

79.82865 N, -91.26788 W

  Port Map

Axel Heiberg Island is located in the Arctic Ocean (Nunavut, Canada). it has a total area of 43178 km2 (16671 ml2), ranking it the world's 31st largest and Canada's 7th largest island.

  • The island is famous for its fossil forest (a former high-latitude wetland forest with tall trees) dating back from the Eocene era (56 to 34 million years ago). Due to the lack of mineralization in the specimens, the forests' fossilisation is more like mummification. The island's warm climate allowed its trees to reach heights of up to 35 m (115 ft) and age between 500-1000 years.
  • In summer 1986, a Canadian expedition started the fossil forest's investigation. In 1999 started a project for preservation of the fossil wood since due to erosion many of the fossils were already exposed and damaged. There were even concerns that some of the fossils were being taken by cruise ship tourists, and that the island was being disturbed by military helicopters from a nearby Canadian base.
  • Currently, there is a plan for establishing the Napaaqtulik National Park, which name in Inuit means "where there are trees".
  • Alomg with the tree fossils, on the Axel Heiberg Island were also discovered remarkably preserved animal fossils, including of an Aurorachelys turtle from the Cretaceous period (from 145-66 million years ago).
  • The island is generally uninhabited, excepting for the seasonally operated by the McGill University research station.

The list of "Canada top 10" largest islands (world rank in brackets) includes: Baffin Island (5), Victoria Island (8), Ellesmere Island (10), Newfoundland (16), Banks Island (24), Devon Island (27), Axel Heiberg Island (32), Melville Island (33), Southampton Island (34) and Prince of Wales Island (40). All of them (excepting Newfoundland - in Newfoundland-Labrador) are located in the Nunavut- Northwest Territories of Arctic Canada.

Highlights: Unusual fossil forests

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