North America Arctic Islands

Range TypeArchipelago
Highest PointGunnbjørn Fjeld (3694 m/12,118 ft)
CountriesGreenland (58%), Canada (42%)
(numbers are approximate percentage of range area)
Area3,583,720 sq km / 1,383,676 sq mi
Area may include lowland areas
Extent2,651 km / 1,647 mi North-South
4,002 km / 2,487 mi East-West
Center Lat/Long71° 48' N; 42° 11' W
Map LinkMicrosoft Bing Map

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The largest archipelago in the world in land area does not have a name. Composed of Greenland and the adjacent Canadian Arctic islands, this vast area is a largely barren expanse of tundra, icecap, and peaks surrounded by an endless maze of often-frozen waterways. Not one tree grows in the 3.4 million square kilometers of land that supports a mere 100,000 people. In contrast, the Malay-Indonesian archipelago from New Guinea to Suamtra (second largest in the world) overflows with over 200 million people in its 2.9 million square kilometers.

The bounaries of the North American Arctic Islands Range2 are clear--it includes Greenland and all islands north of the Canadian mainland and Hudson Bay. Also included are the Boothia and Melville peninsulas, surrounded by islands and connected to the mainland by narrow ithmuses.

There are plenty of substantial mountains on these islands. Greenland is a small version of Antarctica, a giant, high icecap with rugged fiords and high peaks on its edges. The western Canadian Arctic Islands (for example, Banks, Victoria, and Melville) are very low and flat, but the eastern edge of this group rises to high, impressive cliffs and summits that border Baffin Bay on Baffin, Bylot, Devon, and Ellesmere Islands.

Map of North America Arctic Islands
Click on red triangle icons for links to other ranges.

Note: Range borders shown on map are an approximation and are not authoritative.
Click Here for a Full Screen Map

Other Ranges: To go to pages for other ranges either click on the map above, or on range names in the hierarchy snapshot below, which show the parent, siblings, and children of the North America Arctic Islands.
North AmericaLevel 1 (Parent)
         Alaska-Yukon RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         North America Arctic IslandsLevel 2
                 Queen Elizabeth IslandsLevel 3 (Child)
                 South Canadian Arctic IslandsLevel 3 (Child)
                 Baffin IslandLevel 3 (Child)
                 GreenlandLevel 3 (Child)
         Pacific RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Intermountain WestLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Rocky MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         North America PlainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Appalachian MountainsLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Central Mexican RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Central America RangesLevel 2 (Sibling)
         Caribbean AreaLevel 2 (Sibling)

Major Peaks of the North America Arctic Islands

Ten Highest Peaks
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Gunnbjørn Fjeld369412,118Greenland
2.Qaqqaq Kershaw368312,082Greenland
3.Qaqqaq Johnson366912,038Greenland
4.Qaqqaq Paul Emile Victor360911,841Greenland
5.Peak 3549354911,644Greenland
7.Mount Julia345511,335Greenland
8.Mont Forel339111,125Greenland
10.Ejnar Mikkelsen Fjeld332510,909Greenland
Sub-peaks are excluded from this list. List may not be complete, since only summits in the PBC Database are included.
Child Range High Points
RankPeak NamemftRange3
1.Gunnbjørn Fjeld369412,118Greenland
2.Barbeau Peak26168583Queen Elizabeth Islands
3.Mount Odin21437031Baffin Island
4.Durham Heights7242375South Canadian Arctic Islands

Photos of Peaks in the North America Arctic Islands

Barbeau Peak

The broad north summit ridge of Barbeau Peak (1998-06-15).
Peak 1960

Approaching the unnamed Peak 6400, near Barbeau Peak on the Ellesmere Island icecap (1998-06).
Highpointer Peak

The summit ridge of Highpointers Peak (unofficial name), Ellesmere Island, Canada (1998-06).
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
The summit of Sømandsfjeldet, East Greenland (2006-08-20). Photo by James Barlow.
Click here for larger-size photo.

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