The Devon Island Expedition


  • Spencer Apollonio
  • J.W. Cowie
  • K. Voegtli
  • R.M. Koerner
  • P. Cress
  • R. Wyness
  • J.P. Greenhouse



Active layer


In 1959 the Arctic Institute of North America undertook an integrated program of long term research on Devon Island in the Queen Elizabeth Islands of arctic Canada. The co-ordinated studies were designed to help understand the interrelationships between the glacier ice of Devon Island, the ocean in Jones Sound, and the encompassing atmosphere. They are being carried out over a 3-year period under the leadership of Spencer Apollonio. The main effort is concentrated on attempts to evaluate such factors as physical, chemical, and biological variations in the arctic waters of Jones Sound caused by discharging glaciers; evaporation and transfer of moisture between the ocean waters and the ice-cap and glaciers; and the overall influences of solar radiation energy on the mass balance of the ice-cap, the biological production in the sea, and the growth and decay of sea-ice. Some supplementary studies in archaeology and geology are included in the expedition's work because of the marked deficiency of knowledge in those subjects for Devon Island. In the late summer of 1960 a main base was established on the north shore of Devon Island near Cape Skogn by an advance party of eight men taken in with their materials by the Canada Department of Transport icebreaker "d'Iberville". During a 3-week period buildings were erected and routes inland and to the ice-cap explored and marked, while an archaeological reconnaissance of the Cape Sparbo area was made by a small party under Mr. Gordon Lowther of McGill University. Everything was installed for a beginning of the 3-year program in April 1961. During the months of April to September 1961 21 men worked on extensive programs in geophysics, glaciology, marine biology and oceanography, meteorology, and surveying. Intensive work was also completed in archaeology and geology. ...