Bears

The bears worldwide consist of eight species of the family Ursidae, of which three species are found in Arctic areas. The first bearlike ancestor was the small doglike carnivore Ursavus that was common in the Pliocene (5 to 2 million years ago). Similar in size to a racoon, this ancestral bear eventually gave rise to the modern bears and another branch that resulted in the now extinct giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus). During the Pleistocene epoch or Ice Age (2 million to 10,000 years...

Charcot Jeanbaptiste

The French Arctic and Antarctic explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot belonged to a family of physicians, although from an early age Charcot had decided to become a sea traveler or sailor. At the age of 25, he bought his first yacht, Courlis. During his earliest navigations, Charcot cruised the Shetland and Faroe islands, and also visited Jan Mayen Island in the Greenland Sea. These sailings marked the future interests and commitments of Charcot in the Polar Regions. In 1903, Charcot was planning to...

Northeastern Canada

Along the northeast coast of Canada, Arctic conditions extend southward to the central Grand Bank (46 N). This extension far to the south results from the Labrador Current, which transports cold water southward from Davis Strait, the Canadian Archipelago, and Hudson Bay over the plateau east of Labrador and Newfoundland. The median southerly extent of sea ice is on the northern Grand Bank at approximately 47 N and bottom water temperatures on the northern Grand Bank are below 0 C for...

Bering Strait

The Bering Strait is a relatively shallow and narrow strait, 55 miles (96 km) wide between the Chukchi Peninsula of extreme northeast Asia and the Seward Peninsula of northwest North America, connecting the Bering Sea northward arm of the Pacific Ocean with the southward Chukchi Sea of the Arctic Ocean. The strait was first sailed by the Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev in 1648, but is better associated with the Danish navigator Vitus Bering. Bering entered the newly formed navy of the Russian...

Bathurst Mandate

The Bathurst Mandate (Pinasuaqtavut, translated as that which we've set out to do) is an eight-page document that sets out the Nunavut government's priorities for the first five years of its existence (1999-2004) and also includes a vision for Nunavut in the year 2020. The document was developed by the 19 elected members of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly and tabled at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly on October 21, 1999. The Bathurst Mandate outlines the social, political, and economic...

Biodiversity in the High and Mid Arctic

The High and Mid ecoclimate province of the Arctic is found in northernmost Canada, Greenland, on Svalbard (Norway), and in areas of the Russian Arctic such as Novaya Zemlya and the Taymyr Peninsula. The High and Mid Arctic (or Arctic and typical tundra in Eurasian terminology) are characterized by discontinuous vegetation cover and low biodiversity. Plant cover usually ranges between 15 and 75 , depending on the supply of soil moisture, local topography, and climatic conditions. Large areas in...

Education in Greenland

Under Greenland's 1979 Home Rule Act, the Greenlandic government assumed responsibility for education and culture, public health, housing, management of natural and renewable resources, transportation, public works, and environmental protection. Denmark retained responsibility for national defense and foreign relations. On January 1, 1980, the Home Rule government assumed control of primary school education, evening school classes, the Teacher Training College, the Social Pedagogue School, the...

Archbishop Innocent Ivan Veniaminov

Archbishop Innocent (Ivan Veniaminov) was born on August 26, 1797, of local lineage, in the village of Anga (Anginskoe) in the Irkutsk gubernia. He would become an important missionary of Alaska, Siberia, and the Far East, an ethnologist, and a linguist. He received the name Ioann at baptism as an infant, inherited his father's surname, and was known as Ioann (Ivan) Evseevich Popov in his youth. Enrolled in the Irkutsk Theological Seminary, he was gifted not only as a scholar but in mechanics,...

Cassiope Heaths

Cassiope heath is a circumpolar Arctic vegetation type predominated by Cassiope tetragona. Cassiope heaths are a widespread plant community occurring from the Subarctic to the High Arctic. C. tetragona (L.) D.Don (Arctic white heather, white Arctic bell heather, fire moss, four-angled Cassiope, Qijooktaik, Iksutit (Inuktitut), Issutit (Greenlandic)) is an evergreen, long-lived dwarf shrub of the Ericaceae family, which reaches 5-20 cm in height. It has four-ranked, dark green leaves with a deep...

Tides and Currents

Both diurnal and semidiurnal tides occur in the Bering Sea. Tidal amplitude at the Bering Sea coast varies from < 0.5 m along the eastern Chukotka Coast to 1-2 m along the Alaskan Coast, to > 2 m along Koryak and Kamchatka coasts, to > 5 m in Kuskokwim Bay and up to 8.5 m in Bristol Bay. On the Aleutian Islands the tidal magnitude is between 1.5 and 2.3 m. Owing to interaction with topography, tidal currents may amplify to significantly exceed the mean flow. For example, the mean flow...

Fiala Anthony

Anthony Fiala, an American journalist, photographer, and explorer, took the first moving pictures of the Arctic at the turn of the 20th century. Fiala was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1869 and displayed abilities both as an artist and artisan, which led him to choose illustrated journalism as a career. He later joined the United States Army and served in the Spanish-American War of 1898-1900, rising to the rank of major. He was also correspondent for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In...

Fairbanks

Fairbanks is situated in the heart of Alaska, 370 miles (595 km) south of Prudhoe Bay, and 93 miles (150 km) south of the Arctic Circle. The city grew rapidly in the 20th century fueled by gold mining, military bases, and discovery of oil in Alaska's North Slope but until 1901, the Tanana and Yukon Valley area was known only to the native Athapaskans. On August 26, 1901, the paddleboat Lavelle Young, captained by Charles W. Adams, bumped the south bank of the Chena River at a place that would...

Power of the

The sun is the major source of energy that powers the Earth. Although the sun's rays are relatively weak in the Arctic as they pass through the atmosphere at a more oblique angle than to the south, once the Arctic summer has started, there are 24 h of daylight per day. The sun's rays are absorbed by plants (from algae in the sea to the shrubs and krummholz of the treeline) and captured in carbohydrate molecules (sugars) in plants through the process of photosynthesis. The rates of...

Factors Affecting Climate

The variation of received solar intensity with latitude drives a simple air movement where air rises at the equator and sinks at the poles (Hadley cell), causing the polar high-pressure areas of cold, sinking air that inhibits precipitation. A second external factor affecting polar climate is the extreme seasonal variation in incoming solar radiation over the course of a year, from near-continuous insolation in summer to months of almost total darkness in winter. As a result, temperatures...

Religion and Folklore

Although by the 20th century Dolgans were considered to have all converted to Orthodox Christianity, following Christian rituals and practices, they retained many traditional beliefs (animism, deification of forces of nature). Stones of unusual forms, trees, and other natural objects were revered as sacred objects, considered to be spirit protectors of hunting and fishing. Dolgan deities and spirits were divided, as were those of the Yakuts, into three categories itchi unbodied invisible...

Arctic Finland

Arctic Finland includes a small proportion of both the Finnish population and the Finnish economy. Including Arctic territory has been used by both Finland and Sweden to attain specific EU advantages in relation to Arctic agriculture and regional policy. Forestry is the dominating industry. Arctic tourism, especially in relation to the Santa Claus industry, has been an important element in economic development. The small indigenous population, the Saami, living by reindeer herding, have no...

Environmental Problems

Phenomena that significantly interfere with the structure and function of ecosystems over a major portion of the lifetime of the longest-lived organisms can generally be classed as environmental problems. Widespread concern regarding the prospect of large-scale resource development in the Arctic was first expressed over 30 years ago in the early to mid-1970s. Human activities and concomitant environmental problems are presently more extensive within the tundra biome than in the past. Large...

British Arctic Expedition 18751876

The British Arctic Expedition, under the auspices of the Royal Navy, explored Ellesmere Island, Greenland, setting a farthest north record. For nearly a quarter century after the final expedition mounted in 1852 in search of Sir John Franklin and his expedition, the British government steadfastly refused to support any scientific, geographic, or military expeditions into the polar regions. The combined efforts of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society in London in the early 1870s...

Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway provides the only road access to the US Arctic, across the only bridge over the Yukon River in Alaska. It connects the Elliott Highway north of Fairbanks with Deadhorse, the Prudhoe Bay service center, 414 miles to the north. The state of Alaska owns the land from the Elliott Highway to the Yukon River on the southern end and the extreme northern end on the Arctic Coastal Plain. The central portion of the corridor containing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the highway is...

Contemporary Influences and Clothing

Clothing in all Arctic groups was influenced by contact with Europeans and other indigenous groups. The introduction of manufactured materials such as fabric, thread, and beads, and new tools such as metal needles and sewing machines affected indigenous clothing, inspiring creative syntheses of traditional and introduced materials and techniques. Another influence was the social pressure to conform to the standards of colonizing newcomers. Contact with Europeans and others who formed the...

Fur Trade

The history of the fur trade, well documented back to the 9th century, is a history of the colonization of the North and the struggle of circumpolar peoples to reconcile market economies with a traditional way of life. The pursuit of fur brought traders into the European North and later to the far frontiers of Russia in the east and west to North America. Fur was often the first commodity that brought northern peoples into the network of European contact and trade, with various degrees of...

Cod

Cod are fish of the genus Gadus (family Gadidae, order Gadiformes, class Osteichthyes). The genus Gadus includes from one to five species, depending on which are counted as full species. The type species of the genus is Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. Other species are the Pacific cod, G. macrocephalus, and the Greenland cod, G. ogac, earlier thought to be subspecies of the Atlantic cod but recognized currently as full species. Baltic cod and White Sea cod are regarded as subspecies of the Atlantic...

Anadyr

Anadyr is the capital of the Chukchi Autonomous Okrug in the Russian Far East and of the district of Anadyr (Anadyrskii Raion, one of the eight districts of Chukotka). Anadyr is also the name of a 1150 km long river, a plain, a plateau, a bay of the Bering Sea, and a mountain range in the region. The port city of Anadyr is located at 64 47' N and 177 34' E at the estuary of the river Anadyr, which flows into the Bering Sea. Anadyr is located in a tundra area and is subject to strong winds...

Evenki Autonomous Okrug

The Evenki Autonomous Okrug, or Evenkia, is one of nine autonomous national areas or okrugs in the Russian Federation. It was established on December 30,1930 as a national okrug and was named after the indigenous Evenki people. It is part of Krasnoyarsk Kray. The Evenki Autonomous Okrug is situated in eastern Siberia. It borders with the Taymyr Autonomous Okrug in the north, with Sakha (Yakutia) Republic and Location and main towns and rivers in the Evenki Autonomous Okrug. Location and main...

Barrow Sir John

Although Sir John Barrow only made one brief trip to the Arctic himself, sailing to Svalbard for a summer on board a whaler during his teenage years, his name is inextricably linked with the exploration of the Arctic through his role as the prime figure in the mapping of Arctic Canada that took place in the first half of the 19 th century. Coming from humble origins in rural north Lancashire, Barrow was a bright child who impressed his teachers in mastering Latin and mathematics, and made his...

Biography

Davis was born c.1550 in Devonshire, at Sandridge, in the parish of Stoke Gabriel, near Dartmouth. However, little is known of his early life other than that he received a sound education and went to sea at an early age. Following his three Arctic voyages, his four years of naval service included command of the Desire from August 26, 1591 to June 11, 1593 on Thomas Cavendish's ill-fated attempt at a second circumnavigation. Davis was to have searched for the North West Passage on his own after...

Davis John

The English merchant seaman and explorer John Davis was given command of three expeditions to search for the elusive North West Passage partly as a result of his friendship with Adrian and Humphrey Gilbert and their half-brother Sir Walter Raleigh. He was also helped by the patronage of Dr. John Dee, and the sponsorship of William Sanderson and other London and West Country merchants. They secured permission from the Russia Company to seek out a new, northern route, and obtained the approval of...

Alaska Native Science Commission

In spring 1993, Anchorage, Alaska, hosted a conference on contamination of the Arctic, which opened with a keynote address by United States Senator (now Governor) Frank Murkowski, entitled The Environmental Legacy of the Cold War. In the days that followed, delegates listened to accounts of Arctic lands and peoples used as testing ground for Cold War-related scientific research. A number of revelations about research activities undertaken during the 1950s that only became public knowledge in...

The Roman Alphabet

Christianity brought the Roman alphabet to Scandinavia. In the beginning, this alphabet was used for writing Latin, the language of the Roman Catholic Church. In Norway, however, the vernacular (Old Norse) was used in writing prior to 1100, and this practice was taken up in Iceland shortly afterwards. The reason for this was that Norway and Iceland received Christianity from England and Ireland, where the vernaculars (Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic) were habitually used in writing. In Sweden and...

Daurkin Nikolay

In 1762, the Chukchi polar explorer Nikolay Daurkin was sent to Anadyr ostrog (fort) as a common soldier and as a translator of the Chukchi language. In the summer of 1763, he was among 240 Russian soldiers on 13 ships who marched to the Chukchi's land. During this march Daurkin escaped to his Chukchi relatives. In August 1764, he returned to the Russians of his own free will, bringing some of his relatives. However, he was arrested and deported to Yakutsk, and endured cruel punishment and was...

Dwarfshrub Heaths

Dwarf-shrub heaths are manifold complexes of plant communities distributed circumpolarly within the Low Arctic, penetrating into the High Arctic, and abundant worldwide in mountain alpine and subalpine regions. The term heathland, initially used for the wide open landscapes deforested by humans in England, now refers to ecosystems characterized by evergreen xeric (dry habitat) and mesic (intermediate moisture habitat) plants, dominated by representatives of certain plant families (Ericaceae,...

Ellsworth Lincoln

Lincoln Ellsworth's lifelong ambition was to explore the polar regions. Even though a family friend described him as a reticent, imaginative boy, not nearly so vigorous as many of his schoolmates, and physically not as well equipped as they to lead a rigorous life, his sister Clare Ellsworth Prentice nonetheless declared that her brother couldn't stand civilization Since he was a child he wanted to be out under the sky finding something which nobody ever found before (Ellsworth, 1932 xii). As a...

Flora and Fauna

Alaska's many bioregions contain a wide variety of animal and plant species. The evergreen forests of south coastal and southeast Alaska contain Western hemlock, Sitka spruce, red cedar, Alaska yellow cedar, lodgepole pine, mountain hemlock, black cottonwood, and alder. Bush alder, wild currants, salmonberry, huckleberry, skunk cabbage, bog laurel, Labrador tea, and various kinds of grasses, mosses, horsetails, lichens, fungi, and wildflowers are also common. In the Aleutians and west coastal...

Aleut International Association

The Aleut International Association (AIA) was formed in September 1998 as a nonprofit organization representing the Aleut people of Russia and Alaska. Spearheaded by the Aleut leader Flore Lekanof in the hopes of giving Aleuts a voice in the international Arctic community, the association reunites a people who have been separated for 200 years since the US purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. The formation of the AIA was realized through the efforts of two separate organizations the Aleutian...

Aleut Corporation

The United States Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 as a means of compensating Alaska Natives for the loss of lands after a long-standing dispute over ownership. The Settlement Act passed titles of land to Alaska Natives and formed 13 regional for-profit corporations, 12 regional nonprofit social service corporations, and over 200 village corporations. Legislation provided a land settlement totaling 44 million acres and a cash settlement of 962.5 million to...

Animals In The Worldviews Of Indigenous Peoples

The indigenous peoples of the Arctic have their own distinctive histories, cultures, economies, and forms of social organization, yet they all share a distinctive and special relationship with their environment and the animals they depend upon, which is essential for economic survival, social identity, and spiritual life. This relationship with nature is reflected in a rich mythology and worldview, and in moral and ethical codes that guide people in their treatment of animals and the...

Nutrient Contributions of Wildlife

There are several ways to understand the nutritional contributions of wildlife animals and plants to diets of Arctic residents. The first avenue of understanding is based on laboratory studies of food components, particularly nutrients, of sampled wildlife tissues. The second avenue is to understand the contribution to daily nutrition of the portion of the individual or community diet derived from wildlife. Both avenues are required for an assessment of dietary intake and quality. Research on...

Late Tertiary Environments

Modern groups of flowering plants and mammals are thought to have evolved mainly during the Early Tertiary, from about 65 to 50 million years ago. This was a time of warm climate throughout most of the world, one of the warmest periods in the late Paleocene Epoch, about 57-55 million years ago. Evidence from marine fossils indicates that sea surface temperatures were as much as 10 C (18 F) warmer than they are today. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere were as much as twice the...

Bellot Josephren

Lieutenant de vaisseau Joseph-Ren Bellot is best remembered as the French naval officer who first volunteered for service on two British expeditions to the Canadian Arctic in 1851 to search for survivors of Sir John Franklin's expedition, lost while seeking the North West Passage. He was killed in a tragic accident on his second voyage in 1853. Bellot's early career demonstrated his precocious intelligence, courage, and resolution, which, coupled with his considerate and capable manner, was to...

The Runic Alphabet

It is not known how, when, and where the Runic alphabet was invented, but the oldest extant inscriptions have generally been dated to around AD 200. The earliest version of the alphabet was at this time a full-fledged system including 24 characters, or Runes, from a proto-Germanic word meaning secret. The alphabet seems to have suited the proto-Scandinavian language phonemically, mostly by using one character for each phoneme. The idea of creating an alphabetic writing must have found its...

Fossil Periglacial Phenomena

A general definition of periglacial environments refers to conditions where frost action and permafrost-related processes dominate the physical environment. Common to all periglacial environments are cycles of freezing and thawing of the ground and the presence of permafrost, or perennially frozen ground. Presently, these environments primarily occur at high latitudes in the Arctic and Antarctic and at high elevations in mountainous areas at midlatitudes. About 25 of the Earth's land surface...

Cherevichny Ivan Ivanovich

The Soviet polar pilot Ivan Cherevichny was a pioneer in the exploration of the High Arctic by air. Cherevichny began his polar flights in 1934, conducting flights along the Yenisey River from Krasnoyarsk to Igarka and to Dudinka. In the winter of 1935, he was the first among the pilots working this route to fly from Krasnoyarsk to Igarka in one day, without stopping overnight. Soon he was transferred to the air route Irkutsk-Yakutsk-Tiksi. In the summer of 1935, he investigated a new air...

Byrranga Mountains

The Byrranga Mountains (in the Nganasan language, Saw Mountains) are the most northerly continental mountain system. They are located in the Dolgano-Nenets okrug of Krasnoyarsk kray and form the elevated crest (as 1100 km long) of the Taymyr Peninsula. The mountains trend northeast between 90 E and 111 E and terminate around 76 N close to the Laptev Sea. Elevations of mountain peaks and ridges increase in the northeasterly direction, as does the general width of the mountain system, from 50 to...

Zonation and Succession

Zonation is typified by the more or less latitudinal arrangement of Arctic terrestrial communities around the pole, as described above. It is also exemplified by the altitudinal distribution of biomes on mountains even lofty peaks at the equator have treeless tracts of vegetation at high enough altitudes. Altitudinal zona-tion on Arctic mountains is less pronounced than on mountains of temperate and tropical regions. Nevertheless, as one ascends there is a trend for the vegetation to become...

Alaska Native Language Center

The Alaska Native Language Center (ANLC) was established in 1972 by the state of Alaska to study native Alaskan languages, develop literacy materials, assist in the translation of important documents, provide for the development and dissemination of Alaska Native literature, and train Alaska Native language speakers to work as teachers and aides in bilingual classrooms (AS 14.40.117). The Language Center has since become the preeminent institution for the study of the 20 Athapaskan, Eskimo,...

Curley Tagak

As a community activist, politician, and advocate for northern issues, Tagak Curley has been a prominent political and cultural figure during the 20th century in the Canadian Arctic. His efforts at the local and territorial level were instrumental in bringing Arctic and Inuit issues to the fore and in giving the Inuit a recognized political voice in the north. Curley achieved enormous success and respect for his work to improve the lives of the Inuit of Canada. Since the beginning of the 20th...

Canadian Arctic Resources Committee Carc

The Canadian Arctic Resources Committee (CARC) was founded in 1971 and is one of the oldest nongovernmental organizations working in the Canadian North. CARC promotes a definition of sustainable development that seeks to limit the footprint of industry in the North while ensuring the wise use of renewable and nonrenewable resources. CARC brings an independent and critical but constructive perspective to environmental, economic, constitutional, and other issues. It bridges the gap between North...

Encyclopaedia Arctica

In July 1946, noted Arctic explorer and author Vilhjalmur Stefansson proposed to the United States Navy's Office of Naval Research that he prepare a comprehensive encyclopedia of the Arctic regions to be titled the Encyclopaedia Arctica. The formal proposal for the text, a brief three pages with a five-page appendix, suggested a regional approach with encyclopedic coverage of the entire Arctic with some emphasis on the Subarctic. Ten staff, including Stefansson, would write between four and six...

Convention For The Protection Of The Marine Environment Of The Northeast Atlantic Ospar

The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) unified and updated the 1972 Oslo Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft, and the 1974 Paris Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-based Sources. The OSPAR Convention is a framework agreement that covers obligations to prevent and eliminate pollution from land-based sources, from dumping and incineration, and from offshore sources, and...

Main Oceanographic Parameters Temperature and Salinity

The vertical distribution of temperature is typical of the Subarctic water structure that in summer features a cold subsurface later (a remnant of winter convection) underlain by an intermediate warm layer. This layered structure is especially well defined over deep basins but poorly defined near the Aleutian Islands and nonexistent over the shallow part of the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf with depths < 70-80 m. In winter, the ocean's large heat losses to the atmosphere drive thermal convection...

Collins Henry B

Henry Collins was among the founders of modern Arctic archaeology, and the first to prove that Eskimo cultures had their origin in Asia rather than Canada. His fieldwork on St Lawrence Island and in other parts of western Alaska, and later in Canada, addressed Eskimo origins and cultural development across the Arctic, from Alaska to Greenland. During his career-spanning association with the Smithsonian Institution, he trained several generations of specialists in Arctic prehistory. Collins...

Beaufort

The Beaufort Sea is a regional sea of the Arctic Ocean situated off the north coast of Canada and Alaska with its northern boundary defined by a line extending from Pt Barrow to Cape Lands End on Prince Patrick Island. It is about 590,000 km2 (227,800 sq mi) in area and connects freely with the Chukchi Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Banks Island and Victoria Island of the Canadian Archipelago form the eastern boundary. The continental shelf (< 200 m), which comprises about...

Badigin Konstantin Sergeyevich

Russian-born Konstantin Sergeyevich Badigin was best known as the captain of the steamer Georgyi Sedov a vessel beset and drifting in the ice of the Arctic Ocean in the years preceding World War II. Near the end of the 1937 navigation season, due to an unfortunate combination of unusually difficult ice conditions and poor decisions as to the deployment of the available Russian icebreakers, 26 ships were forced into an unplanned wintering beset in the ice at various points along the Soviet...

Bowhead Greenland Right Whale

One of the first biological descriptions of the bowhead or Greenland right whale (Balaena mysticetus) is given in the book Drie Voyagien gedaen na Groenlandt, published around 1668 by Gillis Joosten Saeghman in Amsterdam. This book reveals that 17th-century whalers knew a great deal about the biology of whales, probably because they were not only excellent hunters but also very good observers. Thanks to information from such historical sources and data from recent biological research in Alaska,...

De Long Islands

The De Long Islands (Bennett, Jeannette, and Henrietta, Zhokhova, and Vil'kitskii) lie in the East Siberian Sea between Alaska and the Sakha Republic, and may be considered part of the archipelago of the New Siberian Islands (Novosibiriskiye Ostrova). The archipelago is under Russian jurisdiction. On July 8, 1879, the USS Jeannette with Navy Lieutenant George Washington De Long and a crew of 34 left San Francisco for the North Pole by way of the Bering Sea. This controversial route had been...

Alaska Beluga Whale Committee

The Alaska Beluga Whale Committee (ABWC) was founded in 1988 to ensure that beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) stocks in Alaska remained healthy and to forestall involvement of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the management of belugas. The North Slope Borough (Alaska) Department of Wildlife Management contacted indigenous beluga-hunting communities throughout Alaska, as well as federal and state agencies, emphasizing the need to take action before a management crisis occurred....

Coppermine River

The historic Coppermine River flows north for 845 km (525 miles), from the barrenlands of the central Canadian Arctic to the Arctic coast at Coronation Gulf, in Nunavut. Today named for the native copper deposits traditionally used by the Copper Inuit and First Nations peoples, the river's original local name was Kogloktok or Qurluqtuq meaning the place of moving water. Rising in the center of the barrens at Lac de Gras, the Coppermine flows northwest through Point Lake, winds through forested...

Fur and Fashion Today

In Russia, fur never went out of fashion. Descendants of Cossack traders became Old Settlers and continued to trade for furs. More settlers and peasants arrived in northern areas after the revolution, increasing pressure on habitats and animal populations. Native people often did not trade furs unless they were given a good deal, including friendly arrangements with traders such as hospitality and credit, and when these conditions were not met by traders under the new system, the fur trade...

Collinson Richard

In the annals of exploration of the Arctic, Captain Richard Collinson, of the British Royal Navy, is often portrayed as a tragic figure who narrowly missed great discoveries because of his cautiousness. Between 1848 and 1859, Collinson headed one of the more than fifty naval and private expeditions that sought to discover and rescue the crews of Sir John Franklin's ships the Erebus and Terror that had gone missing in 1845. Collinson sailed from England aboard the Enterprise in January 1850. The...

Back Sir George

George Back, a British born admiral and explorer, took part in five Arctic expeditions during the 19th century. Yet he is little known even in Canada, where his record matches that of any other Arctic explorer. Bumptiousness, exacerbated by his five-foot stature, often caused prickly relationships. The derring-do of Viscount Horatio Nelson's navy lured Back to sea at the young age of twelve-and-a-half, first as a class volunteer on HMS Arethusa cruising the western coasts of France and Spain...

Crozier Francis

Despite being one of the most experienced Arctic and Antarctic navigators of the first half of the 19th century, Francis Crozier never received the recognition or honors that were bestowed on his colleagues Edward Parry and James Clark Ross. Crozier was a popular commander, respected navigator, and accomplished scientist, yet in five voyages to the Arctic and one four-year circumnavigation of the Antarctic he never rose above second-in-command. Crozier's upbringing was comfortable. His father...

Norwegian Qarfugl Icelandic Somateria mollissima

Adult drake eiders are unmistakable, since this is the only duck that is essentially white above and black below, with a black crown and tail, pale pink breast, and pale lime green patches on the rear of the head. Immature and eclipse males show a confusing range of parti-colored plumages, but essentially the head is usually dark and the underparts black. The females are like large female mallards, but are easily distinguishable by the much heavier build, dark barred breast, and the distinctive...

Late Dorset

Spectacular longhouse features have been found at several Late Dorset sites on Victoria Island, the Arctic Islands south of Ellesmere Island, around Smith Sound, and along Hudson Strait (Damkjar, 2000). These communal structures, up to 40 m long and approximately 5 m wide, were built of stones and boulders or else with gravel and sod walls (Plumet, 1985). Sometimes the communal houselike structures feature slab-lined pits and hearths arranged along the walls and long axis of the interior. Near...

Buntings And Longspurs

The Arctic buntings (snow and McKay's) and longspurs (Lapland and Smith's) breed exclusively on the tundra and taiga of North America, Europe, and Asia, where they are usually the earliest birds to return in spring, their melodious songs heralding the end of a long, cold, dark winter. Lapland longspurs and snow buntings are particularly common in circumpolar tundra habitats McKay's bunting (P hyperboreus). Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service during the summer months and are readily...

Cartography

In the Middle Ages, cartography only produced world maps and no regional or local maps. These maps represented a rather contemporary conception than a real picture of the world. This changed in the Renaissance when charts and maps in general became pictures of exploration, products of observation during voyages of discovery. Nowadays, charts and maps are real representations of the world, essential equipment for travelers and researchers. The first picture of the North was based on a voyage to...

Habitats Landforms Water and

In areas that are more or less completely vegetated, the treeless tundra, the characteristic landforms are well-developed stone and soil polygons (see Patterned and Polygonal Ground). These vary in size, but are generally several meters across. Low-centered polygons are characterized by marshy centers and raised borders. Sedges dominate the centers and grasses, avens, and willows are common plants of the edges. These polygons are circumscribed by cracks at the surface. Beneath the cracks are...

Colonization Of The Arctic

Colonization is a term that describes the oppression of one distinct people by another, usually separated by a significant spatial distance. Colonization can occur in the political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of human experience. The term metropolis or center is used to describe a colonial power, while colony or periphery is used to describe the colonized. Colonizers have tended to look for one of two things from their colonies space, to settle surplus populations, or resources,...

Buryat Republic Buryatiya

The Buryat Republic is situated in the southern part of East Siberia, along the eastern shore of Lake Baikal and bordering Mongolia to the south. The republic's area is 351,300 km2. There are four main landscape units East-Sayan upland (height up to 3491 m, Mt Mynky Sarduk) the Baikal mountain area with ridges Khamar-Daban, Ulan-Burgasu, Barguzinskiy Selenginsky midland with mountain ridges Zagan-Daban, Zagan-Hurtei, Zaganskiy and the Vitim plateau. Within the limits of these mountain systems...

Christianizing the Arctic

The role of churches in processes of social change is well documented in the Arctic. Missionaries exerted powerful intellectual influences on indigenous communities and parishioners the dissemination of the Biblical Scriptures combined with the education of children served as the backbone of evangelism. Speaking Inuktitut, missionaries developed effective communication strategies. Isolated in their mission, some Christian missionaries competed openly alongside shamans, diverging when necessary...

Castrn Alexandr Mathias

Alexandr Mathias Castr n, a Finnish linguist and ethnologist, was born into the family of a Lutheran pastor in the village of Tervola near the Arctic Circle (the county of Oulu in northern Finland) in 1813. He went to the University of Helsinki in 1830 with the aim of studying classical and oriental languages, adding Finnish language to his program in 1834. After the appearance of the epic Kalevala (1835) compiled by the Finnish linguist E. Lonnrot, Castr n devoted himself more completely to...

Disko Island

Disko Island (Qeqertarsuaq, in Greenlandic meaning big island) (70 N, 54 W) is a large irregularly triangular island (about 100 km or 60 miles maximum length) lying off the central west coast of Greenland. The high flat-topped area of the island, rising to over 1500 m, is dominated by permanent glaciers, the largest of which, Sermersuaq (Storbraen, in Swedish meaning great glacier), occupies the central area, but with several glacial tongues or smaller glaciers radiating outward toward the...

Freshwater Sources Storage and Export in the Arctic Ocean

The Arctic Ocean is the most river-affected ocean and is the only ocean with a contributing land area greater than its surface area. The delivery of fresh water from a continental landmass is of special importance to the Arctic Ocean because the Arctic Ocean receives about 10 of the fresh water discharged globally by rivers, but it occupies only 1 of the global ocean volume. Annual freshwater inflow contributes as much as 10 of the fresh water in the upper 100 m of the water column in the...

The History of Greenland

In Greenland, written records have been produced regularly and abundantly since the second European colonization of the island in 1721. Missionaries, government administrators, and later increasingly Greenlanders themselves authored such documents. In the 1960s, Finn Gad made extensive use of these sources for his three-volume History of Greenland (1970-1982). Since the 1970s, Hans Christian Gull0v has made explicit reference to ethnohistory as defined in North America in his studies of the...

Akureyri

The town of Akureyri is situated in northeast Iceland, on the longest fjord in the country, Eyjafjor5ur. It is surrounded by mountains reaching a height of 1000-1500 m. The mountain closest to the town is called Hli9arfjall, where there is a ski resort. The river Glera runs through the town, and by its mouth there is a sandbank, Oddeyri. The northerly position of Akureyri has had considerable influence on the community that has sprung up there. Akureyri is about 40 km south of the Arctic...

Finland Land and Resources

Finland is a sovereign Nordic, but not Scandinavian, country in the northeast of continental Europe. With almost a quarter of its territory north of the Arctic Circle, Finland is one of the most northerly countries of the world. A 1200 km land border separates Finland from its neighbor to the east (Russia), while the coastline of the Baltic Sea forms its natural boundary to the south and halfway up its western edge. Moving further north, the Gulf of Bothnia ends and the Tornio River serves as...

Lifestyle and Subsistence

The Chuvans are traditionally nomadic reindeer breeders, hunters (hunting mainly wild reindeer, but also mountain sheep, wolf, and brown bear) and trappers (trapping squirrel, hare, fox, red fox, and Arctic fox), fishers (mainly salmon), and dog breeders. They also had small stocks of domestic reindeer for transportation. Prior to colonization, they also worked as traders and dog-drivers for the Chukchi, bartering trade with the population at the Sea of Okhotsk. They lived in Siberian chums,...

Aleutian Tradition

Approximately 5000 years ago, a regional shift to village life occurred in the Aleutian archipelago. Villages existed before that time, as data from the well-documented village of Anangula 8500 years ago would indicate, but such settlements were small, localized, and perhaps unique. However, sometime between 5500 and 4500 years ago a massive reorganization of ancient Aleut society appears to have transpired. Islands that were previously unoccupied were now inhabited, the westward expansion of...

Contemporary Period

At the turn of the 21st century, artists across the North, while maintaining their ethnic distinctiveness, are adjusting to a set of circumstances different from those faced by previous generations. Perhaps the most far-reaching change is that whether they make functional aesthetic art (more exactly replicas of functional aesthetic art) or embrace conventional fine-art media and techniques, almost all indigenous art from the Arctic today is created for consumption in a culture economically and...

Archaeology Of The Arctic Alaska And Beringia

The late Pleistocene reality of Beringia was first recognized from floral distributions as including both Alaska and Chukotka as well as the one-time land connection between them, now the Bering Strait. Some broad definitions would extend its limits to the Lena River in the west and the Mackenzie in the east. Even before the development of the formal conceptualization, the earliest researchers into the archaeology and native culture expected to uncover significant human contact between America...

Aleutian Islands

The Aleutians are a chain of over 200 islands that arc from the Alaska Peninsula (163 W) east for 1700 miles across the International Date Line toward the Kamchatka Peninsula (172 E). With an area of 6821 square miles, the chain is composed of volcanic islands, called the Aleutian Ridge, that have been active for at least 55 million years. With over 80 major volcanic vents resulting from the tectonic collision of the southern Pacific and the North American plates, just south of the ridge is the...

Boreal Forest Ecology

The term boreal forest or taiga is applied to coniferous forests of the Paleo-Arctic and Neo-Arctic Regions (the latter emphasized here) also included are Rocky Mountain Forest and the Temperate Rainforest of the Pacific Northwest. To the north, the boreal coniferous forest merges sinuously with both Arctic and alpine tundra. To the south, the boreal forest merges with the northern deciduous forest in some places and in other places with the plains and steppes of North America and Eurasia....

Fram Strait

The Fram Strait is located between Greenland and Svalbard at about 79 80 N. About 500 km wide, it separates the Arctic Ocean to the north from the Greenland Sea to the south. With a sill depth of about 2200 m, it is the only deep passage between the Mediterranean Arctic Ocean and its surrounding oceans, thereby providing the most important exchange in terms of volume and energy. A major fraction of Arctic sea ice about 3000 km3 per year is advected into the North Atlantic through this passage....

Population and Government

By spring 2000, Finland had a population of 5,171,302, an average population density of 17 inhabitants per km2. However, the south of the country is considerably more densely populated than the north. There are nearly 26,000 inhabitants of the Aland (Ahvenanmaa) Islands, who live on only 1 of the 6500 or so islands of the archipelago. About 93 of the population speak Finnish as their mother tongue, 6 , mainly in the southern coastal regions (including the Aland Islands), speak Swedish, and less...

Atlantic Layer

The Atlantic layer is a stratum of relatively warm and saline water of Atlantic origin observed across the entire Arctic Basin and even upwelled onto Arctic shelves. The Atlantic layer is, perhaps, the most important feature of the Arctic Ocean vertical structure, which consists of four principal layers (1) Arctic surface water (cold, low-salinity), (2) halocline (a layer in which salinity and temperature sharply increase with depth), (3) Atlantic water (warm, high-salinity), and (4) bottom...

Amund Ringnes Island

Amund Ringnes Island, located in the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Nunavut (formerly Canadian Northwest Territories), is roughly 2230 square miles (about the size of the state of Delaware) with the northern tip, Cape Sverre, at about 79 N latitude and about 77 30' N at the southernmost cape. The island is situated along the 96 W meridian between Axel Heiberg Island and Ellef Ringnes Island. Most of the surface of Amund Ringnes Island is below 500 feet with little relief and low coastlines....

Capelin

Capelin are small, elongated, and silvery marine fishes of the genus Mallotus (family Osmeridae, order Salmoniformes). Capelin play a key role in the North Atlantic Subarctic ecosystem as a food source for cod, haddock, redfishes, plaice, seabirds, and marine mammals. There is one species with two subspecies Mallotus villosus villosus of the North Atlantic Ocean and Mallotus villosus catervarius of the North Pacific Ocean, both distributed in cool temperate and Subarctic waters. Capelin are...

Arctic Peoples Conference

On November 22-25,1973, representatives of the Arctic Peoples of Canada (Inuit, Indians, M tis, and NonStatus Indians), Greenland (Greenlandic Inuit), and Europe (the Saami) met at an international conference. This was the first time Arctic indigenous peoples organized a conference by themselves and for themselves. The initiative was taken by James Wah-Shee, the president of the Federation of Natives North of 60 and the Indian Brotherhood of the Northwest Territories, together with Joe...

Caribou Hunting

Antler artifacts and cave etchings suggest that Arctic people hunted caribou at least 40,000 years ago in Eurasia and 25,000 years ago in North America. Those early people also hunted steppe bison and mammoths. But it was caribou that survived the megafaunal extinctions about 10,000 years ago perhaps through caribou adaptability and migratory behavior. Subsequently, many Arctic and Subarctic cultures became based on caribou (or, in Eurasia, wild reindeer) hunting. In North America, ancestors of...

Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant

Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant in Russia's Far North is the world's northernmost nuclear power plant, and the only one in a permafrost region. (The Kola Power Station is also above the Arctic Circle, but has a milder climate.) Constructed from 1974 to 1976, the plant provides energy for the intensive industrial development of territories in the northern part of Magadan Oblast' and of the western part of Chukotka. These territories are rich in various mineral resources, but are remote from coal,...

Fish

Fish encompass a diverse assemblage of aquatic vertebrates that have fins (if any) rather than limbs, and gills for breathing throughout life. In Greenlandic, aalisakkat is the word for fish in Russian, the word is Pti6a. In Alutiiq and in the north Baffin Island dialect of Inuktitut, the word for fish, iqalluk, also refers to salmon or trout in the Central Yup'ik language, neqa or neqet refers both to fish and food, emphasizing the importance of salmon as fish and fish as food. Indigenous...

Amphibians

Amphibians (Amphibia) is the class of poikilothermic (also known as cold-blooded) terrestrial vertebrates that usually retain the aquatic larval stage hence, proximity to fresh water is typical for a majority of the species. Breeding takes place in water (or wet soil), and the aquatic larvae (which breathe through the gills) metamorphose and subsequently live on land. The food of adults and some larvae (in salamanders) consists of small invertebrates otherwise, adults eat invertebrates, whereas...

Beaufort Gyre

The Beaufort Gyre is a large (approximately 1000-1500 km across) quasistationary anticyclonic (clockwise) circulation that encompasses the entire Canada Basin, a part of the Arctic Ocean between Alaska and Canada in the south and the Mendeleyev and Alpha ridges in the north. The Beaufort Gyre is most intense along its southern limb, in the Beaufort Sea, the latter named after Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857), a British admiral. The Beaufort Gyre is almost completely covered by sea ice year...

Bear Island

Bear Island is the English name for Bj0rn0ya (74 30' N 19 E), the southernmost island in the Norwegian High Arctic Svalbard archipelago. This 178 km2 (69 sq mi) island is 20 km (12 mi) north-south with a maximum width of 15 km. It is the most isolated of Svalbard's islands, lying approximately mid-way between mainland Norway and the rest of the archipelago. Almost the entire coastline consists of steep cliffs, and there are no good harbors. The northern part is a flat, lake-covered, lowland....

Distant Early Warning Dew Line

The Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line was built during the Cold War to protect North America from Soviet aircraft that might invade the continent via the North Pole. An early warning system, the DEW Line was initiated on February 15, 1954, when US President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill approving its construction. The concept of the DEW Line was based upon two fundamental principles (i) that Arctic radar systems would be the primary detection system via data collected and processed at the...

Pleistocene Mammals of Beringia

The dominant vegetation that covered the Beringian lowlands during the Pleistocene is called steppe-tundra by paleontologists. As the name implies, this vegetation was a mixture of plants that are found today in steppe (dry grassland) regions, such as the steppes of Central Asia, and tundra plants that grow today in Arctic regions. The nature of Pleistocene steppe-tundra is a controversial topic among paleontologists (see Polar Steppe). One thing that is certain about this ancient ecosystem is...

Erosion Constraints and Processes on Arctic Coasts

Shoreline exposure on many parts of the Arctic coast is limited by seasonal or multiyear sea ice. The duration and extent of open water determine the proportionate time exposure and may limit wave energy during that time. In the extreme, as on some islands of the northwestern Canadian Arctic Archipelago, year-round ice cover leads to near-complete elimination of wave activity. Sediment redistribution is severely limited and mostly effected by ice push on the resulting low-energy shorelines. The...

Fisher Alexander

The British explorer Alexander Fisher is best known for publishing the journals that he kept during the 1818 John Ross and the 1819-1920 Edward Parry expeditions in search of the North West Passage. Very little is known about Fisher's life. An assistant surgeon in the British Royal Navy, he served on the Alexander under the command of Parry while expedition leader Ross took charge of the larger Isabella. Greenland and Davis Strait whalers had indicated that the Arctic seas had less ice than in...

Pollutants

In response to a massive outbreak of spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) in northern Maine, the Maine Forest Service contracted for aerial application of DDT (one pound per acre) over vast acreages in 1958. Quantitative pretreatment surveys of the benthic insect fauna of several fast-flowing streams, both inside and outside of the proposed treatment area, revealed robust populations of aquatic stages of midges, black flies, mayflies, stoneflies, and caddis-flies, all important as food...

Conservation

Conservation can be defined as planned management and protection of a natural resource to prevent exploitation or destruction by human activities. A related term is preservation, which means to literally stop something from changing. With regard to the environment, preservation refers to the maintenance of individual organisms, populations or species by planned management a preservationist is one that advocates preservation, as of a biological species. A third term, environmentalism, entails...

Eenoolooapik

In the 1830s, Inuit in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island, lived a traditional lifestyle as yet untouched by the incursions of Scottish and English whalers. During that decade, the whaling industry suffered a series of devastating disasters, and many whaling captains argued that new strategies were required to allow the business to thrive again. William Penny, a Scottish whaling master with considerable Arctic experience, felt that Cumberland Sound, explored by John Davis in 1585 and 1587 but not...