Lancaster Sound

Lancaster Sound

Lancaster Sound, arm of Baffin Bay, c.200 mi (320 km) long and 40 mi (60 km) wide, Nunavut Territory, Canada. It extends west between Devon and Baffin islands and is part of the shortest water route across N Canada to the Beaufort Sea. It was visited in 1616 by William Baffin, the English explorer.
Lancaster Sound is a body of water lying between Devon Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada, forming the eastern portion of the Northwest Passage. East of the sound lies Baffin Bay; to the west lies Viscount Melville Sound. Further west a traveler would enter the McClure Strait before heading into the Arctic Ocean.

Ice cover, both land-fast ice and pack ice, is common for nine months of the year. A shore lead system ensures there are ice-free water areas.

Wildlife is rich and varied, with an immense amount of Arctic cod (30,000 tons worth) known to exist there. The Arctic cod is also part of the diet for many of the birds in Lancaster Sound and marine mammals. Many narwhal, beluga, bowhead whale (an endangered species), ringed, bearded and harp seals, walrus, polar bears, thick-billed murres, Black-legged Kittiwakes, northern fulmars, black guillemots, arctic terns, ivory gulls and snow geese all occupy the area.

This area is not yet represented in the Canadian national marine conservation areas systems even though an attempt to do so at the request of local Inuit was made in 1987.

Lancaster Sound became known to the Canadian Government during an extensive aerial mapping program of Northern Canada which took from the 1930's until the late 1950's to complete, and was named for the type of aircraft that was used to discover it, the Avro Lancaster. The Lancaster was a WW2 heavy bomber which had been converted for mapping.

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