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Sverdrup Islands

Sverdrup Islands
NASA Landsat photo of the Sverdrup Islands
From left to right: Ellef Ringnes, Amund Ringnes, and Axel Heiberg islands.
Location Arctic Ocean
Archipelago Queen Elizabeth Islands
Canadian Arctic Archipelago
Major islands Axel Heiberg, Ellef Ringnes, Amund Ringnes
Area 66,000 km2 (25,000 sq mi)
Highest elevation 2,210 m (7,250 ft)
Highest point Outlook Peak
Territory Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk
Population 8 to 12 summer population
Density 0.000015 /km2 (0.000039 /sq mi)

The Sverdrup Islands is an archipelago of the northern Queen Elizabeth Islands, in Nunavut, Canada. The islands are situated in the Arctic Ocean, west of Ellesmere Island from 77° to 81° North and 85° to 106° West.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Main Islands 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5
  • References 6


The islands are named after Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup, who explored and mapped them from 1898 to 1902 with the vessel Fram, although some were previously inhabited by Inuit people. Sverdrup claimed the islands for Norway, but the Norwegian government showed no interest in pursuing the claim until 1928. At that point, the Norwegian government raised the claim, primarily to use the islands as bargaining chips in negotiations with the United Kingdom over the status of two other islands: the Arctic Jan Mayen and the Antarctic Bouvet Island. On 11 November 1930, Norway recognized Canadian sovereignty over the Sverdrup Islands.[1] On 19 November 1930, the UK recognized Norwegian sovereignty over Jan Mayen.[2]


The main islands of the group are Axel Heiberg Island, Ellef Ringnes Island, Amund Ringnes Island, Cornwall Island, Graham Island, Meighen Island, King Christian Island, Stor Island, and the archipelago also includes a number of smaller islands in the surrounding waters. The only habitated place was Isachsen, a formerly manned weather station, 1948 through 1978, on Ellef Ringnes Island and McGill Arctic Research Station on Axel Heiberg Island (a research station occupied during the summer).

Main Islands

Island Peak Height
Axel Heiberg Outlook Peak 2,211 43,178 7 32
Ellef Ringnes Isachsen Dome 260 11,295 16 69
Amund Ringnes ... 265 5,255 25 111
Meighen Meighen Icecap 300 955 50 337
King Christian King Christian Mountain 165 645 60 420
Stor ... 500 313 87 ...
Sverdrup Outlook Peak 2,211 66,000 - -

See also

External links

  • University of Guelph Ringnes Islands
  • Nunatsiaq News - Canada secures High Arctic sovereignty
  • Official site of the Fram Museum (Frammuseet)


  1. ^ Berton, Pierre. The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole. Toronto: Random House of Canada Ltd., 1988, p. 629.
  2. ^ "Norsk polarhelt ville bli hemmelig agent" from, 19 April 2007, in Norwegian
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