Melville, Bathurst, and Cornwallis Islands: Low to Moderate Relief Innuitia

  • Scott F. LamoureuxEmail author
  • Ashley C. A. Rudy
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)


Melville, Bathurst, and Cornwallis islands are located within the Innuitian Orogen geological province and find themselves primarily in the moderate relief Parry Plateau and low relief Sverdrup Lowland geomorphological regions. They lie between the high relief Innuitia of Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere islands to the north and the low relief Victoria Lowland of Victoria Island to the south. They experience some of the most extreme cold climates in Canada. Vegetation is limited to low tundra communities and barren ground. The only community is Resolute on Cornwallis Island. The region was influenced by both the Innuitian and Laurentide ice sheets during MIS 2. Glaci-isostatic depression of the regional crust and current submergence of eastern Melville Island are two of the key geomorphic imprints on the landscape. Permafrost and periglacial landforms such as patterned ground are ubiquitous. Ground ice in thermokarst produces active-layer detachments and retrogressive thaw slumps. Limited water availability and a brief melt season, when 90% of the annual discharge occurs, condition fluvial processes. There is little research on the effectiveness of aeolian processes. Widespread sea ice reduction under climate change is responsible for inundation of the coastline and erosion of shoreline bluffs.


Innuitian Orogen Low-moderate relief Laurentide and Innuitian ice sheets Permafrost Periglacial Thermokarst Climate change 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Northwest Territories Geological SurveyYellowknifeCanada

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