Axel Heiberg Island

Axel Heiberg Iceland with over 43,000 square kilometers, the seventh largest island in Canada. She is one of the Queen Elizabeth Islands and belongs to the region Qikiqtaaluk in the northeast of the territory of Nunavut.


The heavily indented by fjords island lies between 78 ° and 81 ° north latitude and 85 ° and 97 ° w. L. on the west flank of Ellesmere Iceland, from which it is separated by the Eureka and Nansen Sound. Sverdrup Channel and Massey Sound separate the island in the southwest of Meighen, Amund Ringnes and Cornwall Iceland.

The Axel Heiberg Island is 43,178 km ² and reaches at its highest point, the White Crown Mountain, a height of 2,120 m.

Ice and glaciers cover 14,733 km ² of the total area. It is dominated by the Müller- ice cap, which is named after the Swiss glaciologist Fritz Müller (1926-1980), and the Steacie Ice Sheet.

The island is uninhabited. Only in the summer, the McGill research station is busy, which can accommodate eight to twelve people comfortably.


Natural history

Discovered in 2006, scientists led by the geophysicist John Tarduna from the University of Rochester a well-preserved Asian Turtle, which could be dated to an age of 90 million years, thus allowing the detection considerably higher temperatures yielded, as we shall reign on the island today. Discovered in 1985, a helicopter pilot and a geologist, independently, a mummified forest that grew here in the Eocene, 40 to 50 million years ago. About 50 cm found at the Geodetic Hills high and one meter thick stumps of the mammoth species Metasequoia glyptostroboides, to logs of the type water spruce ( Glyptostrobus ) and other species such as hickory, swamp cypress, cedar, pine, spruce, larch, etc. The redwoods had a plant height of 50 m and reached an age of a thousand years. At least since 1883 wood finds from Ellesmere Iceland had become known; unlike petrified forests, the wood is still present and therefore combustible.

Inuit, pre-European history (before 2000 BC)

To the east of the island of Inuit were discovered from the early 1970s artifacts, such as a stone box from the Late Dorset phase and traces of ocher, suggesting ritual use. Between 3700 and 4000 BP Inuit hunted here musk oxen, a time in which the North was rapidly colonized by them.

Discovery and first expeditions (from 1899)

The European discovery of the island made ​​in April 1899 Otto Sverdrup. He named it after the Consul Axel Heiberg, a co-founder of the Norwegian brewery Ringnes that supported the polar expedition financially. On April 11 of the following year he landed for the first time on the island at Cape Southwest, but neither succeeded to prove to him on this expedition, that it was an island, even in the next year. In 1900 he had it westward tried 1901 eastward. The evidence was not until 1912. The next which reached the island, was Robert Peary, who landed on June 26, 1906 at Cape Thomas Hubbard. Nearby Frederick Cook began on March 18, 1908 his North Pole expedition; Donald McMillan (1874-1970) sought in vain from here in 1914, the non-existent Crocker country. McMillan tried in 1926 to establish one of Etah in Greenland supplied from the air base, this project was, however, after three weeks. This company led Canada, the U.S. claims apparently afraid to put your own expedition for the first time on their feet. A team of Royal Canadian Mounted Police, led by AH Joy explored the island in 1926, again in 1929.

1932 sought an expedition of this police force under Richard Stallworthy for the missing members of the Second Hessian Greenland expedition, which had consisted of Hans Krüger, Åge Rose Bjare and Inuit leaders Akqioq. From them they had heard nothing more for two years. This Stallworthy circumnavigated Axel Heiberg, where he found a message of 30 April 1930 as a single trace at Cape Thomas Hubbard. At least three more expeditions took place in 1938 and 1940, the latter by the geologist John Troelsen.

Research (since 1955)

The scientific exploration of the island began in 1955 by the audit conducted by the Geological Survey of Canada Operation Franklin. 1959 to 1962 was on the west coast in the Expedition Fiord a research station with an airstrip. It is used occasionally today.

The first mountain climb led by the British Army in 1972. Under the direction of AJ Muston the men climbed 48 peaks east of the Middle Fiord. They brought with them numerous minerals and botanical finds.