HUDSON BAY (
Inuktitut : Kangiqsualuk ilua, French : baie d'Hudson)
(sometimes called HUDSON\'S BAY, usually historically) is a large body
of saltwater in northeastern
Canada with a surface area of 1,230,000
km2 (470,000 sq mi). It drains a very large area , about 3,861,400 km2
(1,490,900 sq mi), that includes parts of southeastern
Alberta , most of
Quebec and parts
North Dakota ,
South Dakota ,
Minnesota , and
Montana . Hudson
Bay's southern arm is called
James Bay .
Cree name for Hudson and
James Bay is Wînipekw (Southern
dialect) or Wînipâkw (Northern dialect), meaning muddy or brackish
Lake Winnipeg is similarly named by the local
Cree , as is the
location for the city of
* 1 Description
* 2 History
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Extent
* 3.2 Climate
* 3.3 Waters
* 3.4 Shores
* 3.5 Islands
* 4 Geology
* 5 Economy
* 6 Coastal communities
* 6.1 Military development
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Notes
* 10 External links
Hudson Bay drainage basin
Hudson Bay encompasses 1,230,000 km2 (470,000 sq mi), making it the
second-largest water body using the term "bay" in the world (after the
Bay of Bengal ). The bay is relatively shallow and is considered an
epicontinental sea , with an average depth of about 100 m (330 ft)
(compared to 2,600 m (8,500 ft) in the Bay of Bengal). It is about
1,370 km (850 mi) long and 1,050 km (650 mi) wide. On the east it is
connected with the
Atlantic Ocean by
Hudson Strait ; on the north,
Arctic Ocean by
Foxe Basin (which is not considered part of
the bay), and
Fury and Hecla Strait . Geographic coordinates : 78° to
95° W , 51° to 70° N .
Hudson Bay is often considered part of the
Arctic Ocean . For
International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization (in its current
unapproved working edition only of Limits of Oceans and Seas) defines
the Hudson Bay, with its outlet extending from 62.5 to 66.5 degrees
north (just a few miles south of the
Arctic Circle ) as being part of
the Arctic Ocean, specifically "
Arctic Ocean Subdivision 9.11." Other
authorities include it, in part because of its greater water budget
connection, with the
Atlantic Ocean .
Some sources describe
Hudson Bay as a marginal sea of the Atlantic
Ocean, or the Arctic Ocean.
Canada, Routes of Explorers, 1497 to 1905
English explorers and colonists named
Hudson Bay after Sir Henry
Hudson who explored the bay beginning August 2, 1610 on his ship
Discovery . :170 On his fourth voyage to North America, Hudson worked
his way around
Greenland 's west coast and into the bay, mapping much
of its eastern coast. Discovery became trapped in the ice over the
winter, and the crew survived onshore at the southern tip of James
Bay. When the ice cleared in the spring, Hudson wanted to explore the
rest of the area, but the crew mutinied on June 22, 1611. They left
Hudson and others adrift in a small boat. No one knows the fate of
Hudson or the crew members stranded with him, but historians see no
evidence that they survived for long afterwards. :185
In 1668, Nonsuch reached the bay and traded for beaver pelts, leading
to the creation of the Hudson\'s Bay Company (HBC) which still bears
the historic name. The HBC negotiated a trading monopoly from the
English crown for the
Hudson Bay watershed , called Rupert\'s Land .
:4 France contested this grant by sending several military expeditions
to the region, but abandoned its claim in the
Treaty of Utrecht (April
During this period, the
Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company built several factories
(forts and trading posts ) along the coast at the mouth of the major
rivers (such as Fort Severn,
York Factory and Churchill,
Manitoba ). The strategic locations were bases for inland exploration.
More importantly, they were trading posts with the indigenous peoples
who came to them with furs from their trapping season. The HBC shipped
the furs to Europe and continued to use some of these posts well into
the 20th century. The
Port of Churchill was an important shipping link
for trade with Europe and
Russia until its closure in 2016 by owner
HBC's trade monopoly was abolished in 1870, and it ceded Rupert\'s
Land to Canada, an area of approximately 3,900,000 km2 (1,500,000 sq
mi), as part of the
Northwest Territories . :427 Starting in 1913, the
Bay was extensively charted by the Canadian Government's
CSS Acadia to
develop it for navigation. This mapping progress led to the
Churchill, Manitoba as a deep-sea port for wheat
exports in 1929, after unsuccessful attempts at Port Nelson .
Due to a change in naming conventions, Hudson's Bay is now called
International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization defines the northern
Hudson Bay as follows:
A line from Nuvuk Point (62°21′N 78°06′W / 62.350°N
78.100°W / 62.350; -78.100 ) to Leyson Point, the Southeastern
Southampton Island , through the Southern and Western
Southampton Island to its Northern extremity, thence a line
to Beach Point (66°03′N 86°06′W / 66.050°N 86.100°W /
66.050; -86.100 ) on the Mainland.
Polar bear walks on newly formed ice in early November at Hudson
Hudson Bay region has very low year-round average temperatures.
(The average annual temperature for Churchill at 59°N is −5 °C (23
°F); by comparison
Arkhangelsk at 64°N with a similar subarctic
climate in northern
Russia has an average of 2 °C (36 °F). ) Water
temperature peaks at 8–9 °C (46–48 °F) on the western side of
the bay in late summer. It is largely frozen over from mid-December to
mid-June when it usually clears from its eastern end westwards and
southwards. A steady increase in regional temperatures over the last
100 years has been reflected in a lengthening of the ice-free period
which was as short as four months in the late 17th century.
In late spring (May), large chunks of ice float near the eastern
shore of the bay, while the center of the bay remains frozen to the
west. Between 1971 and 2007, the length of the ice-free season
increased by about seven days in the southwestern part of the Hudson
Bay, historically the last area to thaw.
Hudson Bay has a lower average salinity level than that of ocean
water. The main causes are the low rate of evaporation (the bay is
ice-covered for much of the year), the large volume of terrestrial
runoff entering the bay (about 700 km3 (170 cu mi) annually, the
Hudson Bay watershed covering much of Canada, many rivers and streams
discharging into the bay), and the limited connection with the
Atlantic Ocean and its higher salinity.
Sea ice is about three times
the annual river flow into the bay, and its annual freezing and
thawing significantly alters the salinity of the surface layer.
One consequence of the lower salinity of the bay is that the freezing
point of the water is higher than in the rest of the world's oceans,
thus decreasing the time that the bay remains ice-free.
The western shores of the bay are a lowland known as the Hudson Bay
Lowlands which covers 324,000 km2 (125,000 sq mi). The area is drained
by a large number of rivers and has formed a characteristic vegetation
known as muskeg . Much of the landform has been shaped by the actions
of glaciers and the shrinkage of the bay over long periods of time.
Signs of numerous former beachfronts can be seen far inland from the
current shore. A large portion of the lowlands in the province of
Ontario is part of the
Polar Bear Provincial Park
Polar Bear Provincial Park , and a similar
portion of the lowlands in
Manitoba is contained in Wapusk National
Park , the latter location being a significant polar bear maternity
In contrast, most of the eastern shores (the
Quebec portion) form the
western edge of the
Canadian Shield in Quebec. The area is rocky and
hilly. Its vegetation is typically boreal forest , and to the north,
Measured by shoreline,
Hudson Bay is the largest bay in the world
(the largest in area being the Bay of Bengal).
There are many islands in Hudson Bay, mostly near the eastern coast.
All, as are the islands in James Bay, are part of the territory
Nunavut and several are disputed by the Cree. One group of islands is
Belcher Islands . Another group includes the
Ottawa Islands .
Hudson Bay occupies a large structural basin known, as the HUDSON BAY
BASIN, that lies within the
Canadian Shield . The collection and
interpretation of outcrop, seismic and drillhole data for exploration
for oil and gas reservoirs within the
Hudson Bay basin found that it
is filled by, at most, 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) of
Devonian limestone , dolomites , evaporites , black shales , and
various clastic sedimentary rocks that overlie less than 60 meters
(200 ft) of
Cambrian strata that consist of unfossiliferous quartz
sandstones and conglomerates , overlain by sandy and stromatolitic
dolostones . In addition, a minor amount of terrestrial Cretaceous
fluvial sands and gravels are preserved the fills of a ring of
sinkholes created by the dissolution of
Silurian evaporites during the
From the large quality of published geologic data that has been
collected as the result of hydrocarbon exploration , academic
research, and related geologic mapping , a detailed history of the
Hudson Bay basin has been reconstructed. During the majority of the
Cambrian Period , this basin did not exist. Rather, this part of the
Canadian Shield area was still topographically high and emergent. It
was only during later part of the
Cambrian that rising sea level of
the Sauk marine transgression slowly submerged it. During the
Ordovician, this part of the
Canadian Shield continued to be submerged
by rising sea levels except for a brief middle
regression . Only starting in the Late
Ordovician and continuing into
Silurian did the gradual regional subsidence of this part of the
Canadian Shield form the
Hudson Bay basin. The formation of this basin
resulted in the accumulation of black bituminous oil shale and
evaporite deposits within its center, thick basin-margin limestone and
dolomite, and the development of extensive reefs that ringed the basin
margins that were tectonically uplifted as the basin subsided. During
Silurian times, subsidence ceased and this basin was uplifted.
It generating an emergent arch, on which reefs grew, that divided the
basin into eastern and western sub-basins. During the
this basin filled with terrestrial red beds that interfinger with
marine limestone and dolomites. Before deposition was terminated by
marine regression, Upper
Devonian black bituminous shale accumulated
in the south-east of the basin.
The remaining history of history of the
Hudson Bay basin is largely
unknown as a major unconformity separates Upper
Devonian strata from
Pleistocene glacial deposits . Except for poorly known, terrestrial,
Cretaceous fluvial sands and gravels that are preserved as the fills
of a ring of sinkholes around the center of this basin, strata
representing this period time are absent from the
Hudson Bay basin and
surrounding Canadian Shield.
The Precambrian Shield underlying
Hudson Bay and in which Hudson Bay
basin formed is composed of two
Archean proto-continents, the Western
Churchill and Superior cratons . These cratons are separated by a
tectonic collage that forms a suture zone between these cratons and
the Trans-Hudson Orogen . The Western Churchill and Superior cratons
collided at about 1.9–1.8 Ga in the
Trans-Hudson orogeny . Because
of the irregular shapes of the colliding cratons, this collision
trapped between them large fragments of juvenile crust, a sizable
microcontinent , and island arc terranes , beneath what is now the
center of modern
Hudson Bay as part of the Trans-Hudson Orogen. The
Belcher islands are the eroded surface of the Belcher Fold Belt, which
formed as a result of the tectonic compression and folding of
sediments that accumulated along the margin of the Superior craton
before its collision with the Western Churchill craton. Map of
Hudson Bay is in the region of the most rapid
Hudson Bay and the associated structural basin lies within the center
of a large free-air gravity anomaly that lies within the Canadian
Shield. The similarity in areal extent of the free-air gravity anomaly
with the perimeter of the former
Laurentide Ice Sheet that covered
this part of
Laurentia led to a long-held conclusion that this
perturbation in the Earth’s gravity reflected still ongoing
adjustment of glacial isostatic adjustment to the melting and
disappearance of this ice sheet. Data collected over
Canada by the
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission
allowed geophysicists to isolate the gravity signal associated with
glacial isostatic adjustment from longer–time scale process of
mantle convection occurring beneath the Canadian Shield. Based upon
this data, geophysicists and other
Earth scientists concluded that
Laurentide Ice Sheet was composed of two large domes to the west and
east of Hudson Bay. Modeling glacial isostatic adjustment using the
GRACE data, they concluded that ~25 to ~45% to the observed free-air
gravity anomaly was due to ongoing glacial isostatic adjustment and
the remainder likely represents longer–time scale effects of mantle
Earth scientists have disagreed about what created the semicircular
feature, known as the NASTAPOKA ARC , that forms a section of the
shoreline of southeastern Hudson Bay. Noting the paucity of impact
Earth in relation to the
Moon and Mars, Beals proposed
that it is possibly part of a Precambrian extraterrestrial impact
structure that is comparable in size to the
Mare Crisium on the
In the same volume, Wilson commented on Beals' interpretation and
alternately proposed that the
Nastapoka arc may have formed as part of
an extensive Precambrian continental collisional orogen, linked to the
closure of an ancient ocean basin. The current, general consensus is
that it is an arcuate boundary of tectonic origin between the Belcher
Fold Belt and undeformed basement of the
Superior craton created
during the Trans-Hudson orogeny. This is because no credible evidence
for such an impact structure has been found by regional magnetic,
Bouguer gravity , and other geologic studies. However, other Earth
scientists have proposed that the evidence of an
Archean impact might
have been masked by deformation accompanying the later formation of
the Trans-Hudson orogen and regard an impact origin as a plausible
Arctic Bridge shipping route (blue line) is hoped to link
North America to markets in Europe and Asia using ice-free routes
The longer periods of ice-free navigation and the reduction of Arctic
Ocean ice coverage have led to Russian and Canadian interest in the
potential for commercial trade routes across the Arctic and into
Hudson Bay. The so-called
Arctic Bridge would link Churchill,
Manitoba, and the Russian port of
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The coast of
Hudson Bay is extremely sparsely populated; there are
only about a dozen communities. Some of these were founded as trading
posts in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Hudson's Bay Company,
making them some of the oldest settlements in Western
Canada . With
the closure of the HBC posts and stores, although many are now run by
The North West Company , in the second half of the 20th century, many
coastal villages are now almost exclusively populated by
Inuit people. Two main historic sites along the coast were York
Prince of Wales Fort
Prince of Wales Fort .
Communities along the
Hudson Bay coast or on islands in the bay are
(all populations are as of 2016):
Arviat , population 2,657
* Chesterfield Inlet , population 437
Coral Harbour , population 891
Rankin Inlet , population 2,842
Sanikiluaq , population 882
* Whale Cove , population 435
* Churchill , population 899
Fort Severn First Nation , population 334
Akulivik , population 633
Inukjuak , population 1,757
Kuujjuarapik , population 686
Puvirnituq , population 1,779
Umiujaq , population 442
Whapmagoostui , population 984
Hudson's Bay Company
Hudson's Bay Company built forts as fur trade strongholds against
the French or other possible invaders. One example is York Factory
with angled walls to help defend the fort. In the 1950s, during the
Cold War , a few sites along the coast became part of the Mid-Canada
Line , watching for a potential Soviet bomber attack over the North
Pole. The only Arctic deep-water port in
Canada is the Port of
Churchill , located at Churchill, Manitoba.
Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal
List of Hudson Bay rivers
Hudson Bay sea,
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of Hudson Bay: The Publications of the Champlain Society. Toronto:
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Port of Churchill shut down after being refused bailout,
* ^ "CSS Acadia".
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Cree ask court to defend traditional rights on James Bay
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Sedimentary Basins of the
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Hudson Bay Basin in northern Canada: New insights into
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Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 99(5), pp. 859-888.
* ^ A B Roksandic, M.M., 1987, The tectonics and evolution of the
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* ^ A B Darbyshire, F.A., and Eaton, D.W., 2010. The lithospheric
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* ^ A B Eaton, D.W., and Darbyshire, F., 2010. Lithospheric
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* ^ Tamisiea, M.E., Mitrovica, J.X. and Davis, J.L., 2007. GRACE
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* ^ Beals, C.S., 1968. On the possibility of a catastrophic origin
for the great arc of eastern Hudson Bay. In: Beals, C.S. (Ed.), pp.
985-999. Science, History and Hudson Bay, Vol. 2, Department of Energy
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* ^ Wilson, J.T., 1968. Comparison of the
Hudson Bay arc with some
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* ^ "Russian ship crosses \'Arctic bridge\' to Manitoba". The Globe
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* ^ North West Company at a glance
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* Some references of geological/impact structure interest include:
* Rondot, Jehan (1994). Recognition of eroded astroblemes.
Earth-Science Reviews 35, 4, p. 331–365.
* Wilson, J. Tuzo (1968) Comparison of the
Hudson Bay arc with some
other features. In: Science, History and Hudson Bay, v. 2. Beals, C.
S. (editor), p. 1015–1033.
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