Ellesmere Iceland ( German Ellesmere Island ) with a size of 196,236 km ² (according to other sources 183,000 or 212,690 km ²), the tenth largest (according to other investigations, the ninth or eleventh largest ) island in the world.
It belongs to the Queen Elizabeth Islands in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago Canadian- and is part of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. From North Greenland in the east it is separated by the sometimes only 30 kilometers Kennedy Channel. To the west lies the Axel Heiberg Island, in the south, separated by the Jonessund, the Devon Island.
The island was discovered in 1616 by William Baffin and Robert Bylot and 1852, nominated by Inglefield's expedition to Francis Egerton, the first Earl of Ellesmere.
About 80,000 km ² of the island heavily indented by fjords are glaciated. The northernmost point of the island, Cape Columbia to 83 ° 6 ' north latitude of the northernmost point of Canada and 769 km, is also from the North Pole. The Lake Hazen in the northern part of the island is the northernmost major lake in Canada. The Arctic Cordillera covers most of Ellesmere Island, making it the most mountainous island in the archipelago. The Barbeau Peak with 2616 m the highest mountain of the island and also of the territory of Nunavut.
The landscape is treeless tundra with a vegetation of lichens, mosses and other arctic plants. The annual rainfall is only about 60 mm, the average temperature -12 ° C. The fauna includes musk ox, caribou, arctic fox, arctic wolf, arctic hare, lemming and several species of birds such as snowy owl, gyrfalcon, and Canada goose.
The island has been inhabited since at least 4000 years ago by ancestors of the Inuit. Today, there are three inhabited all year round branches: the military station Alert ( 82 ° 30 ' north latitude and thus northernmost human settlement at all), and also the weather and research station Eureka and Grise Fiord Inuit settlement. Overall, only 146 people inhabit the island.
About one-fifth of the island is as Quttinirpaaq National Park, formerly known as Ellesmere National Park Reserve, a nature reserve.
In sedimentary rocks of Ellesmere Island, 2006, until today only Tiktaalik fossils were found, one Fleischflossers which constitutes a link between fish and land dwellers. There are also important fossil remains of Margaret Formation, which make it possible to reconstruct a habitat that has existed in the Eocene, about 50 million years under subtropical climatic conditions.