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Natural Regions, Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Arctic lowlands, King William Island, Innuitian region, Queen Elizabeth Islands, Davis Strait
The Canadian Arctic Archipelago is a collection of islands north of Hudson Bay and between the Beaufort Sea and Davis Strait. All but the southern tip of Baffin Island are above the Arctic Circle. The archipelago is a complex region including mountains, uplands, plateaus, and lowlands. There are three main subareas: the Innuitian region, the shield territories, and the Arctic lowlands.
The Innuitian region, in the far north, consists of the Queen Elizabeth Islands. The northernmost of these, Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands, are almost entirely mountainous and glacier-covered. The Sverdrup Islands to the southwest are lowlands, forming a basin between the Queen Elizabeths and the plateaus of the Parry Islands.
The second major part of the archipelago is an extension of the Canadian Shield and includes most of Baffin Island, Devon Island, part of Somerset Island, and the southeast tip of Ellesmere. This is mainly granite bedrock that has been uplifted and folded into mountains.
The Arctic lowlands make up most of the remainder of the archipelago. These lowlands extend from the Arctic coastal plain in the far west through the interior lowlands of Banks Island. They include most of Victoria Island, Prince of Wales Island, and King William Island.
The archipelago has a cold, dry Arctic climate. Much of the region is covered by glaciers or polar deserts composed of gravel and other unconsolidated material. The sparse vegetation is mainly lichens and mosses.
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