82,119 sq mi (212,688 sq km), c.500 mi (800 km) long, in the Arctic Ocean, N Nunavut Territory, Canada; second largest and northernmost island of the Arctic Archipelago
. It is separated from NW Greenland by a narrow passage. The island's coast is indented by deep fjords. The interior plateau rises more than 2,000 ft (610 m) above sea level; the United States Ranges, in the north, are c.11,000 ft (3,350 m) high. An ice cap covers much of the island's east side. In snow-free areas vegetation supports large herds of musk oxen. There are scientific stations and some Inuit (Eskimo) settlements on the island. First sighted by the British explorer William Baffin
in 1616, Ellesmere Island was explored in the latter half of the 19th cent. Since the 1950s the island has been the site of many glaciological, geological, and geographical expeditions.
See J. Kobalenko, The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island (2002).
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