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 Nunavut, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of
Quebec and parts of 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 Winnipeg.
5.1 Arctic Bridge
6 Coastal communities
6.1 Military development
7 See also
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
Ocean by Hudson Strait; on the north, with the Arctic
Foxe Basin (which is not considered part of the bay), and
Fury and Hecla Strait.
Hudson Bay is often considered part of the Arctic Ocean; the
International Hydrographic Organization, in its 2002 working draft
of Limits of Oceans and Seas) defined 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 the
Atlantic, in part because of its greater water budget connection with
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
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 1713).
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, Ontario;
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
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 establishment of
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
Hudson Bay.
International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization defines the northern limit
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
extreme of Southampton Island, through the Southern and Western shores
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 Bay.
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)
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
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, and a similar portion of the lowlands in
contained in Wapusk National Park, the latter location being a
significant polar bear maternity denning area.
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 the 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
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
Ordovician marine regression. Only
starting in the Late
Ordovician and continuing into the
the gradual regional subsidence of this part of the Canadian Shield
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 Middle 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
Devonian Period, this basin
filled with terrestrial red beds that interfinger with marine
limestone and dolomites. Before deposition was terminated by marine
Devonian black bituminous shale accumulated in the
south-east of the basin.
The remaining 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 of time are absent from the
Hudson Bay basin and surrounding
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 post-glacial rebound.
Hudson Bay is in the region of the most
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
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 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
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 convection.
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
Moon. 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
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 possibility.
Arctic Bridge shipping route (blue line) is hoped to link North
America to markets in Europe and Asia using ice-free routes across the
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 Murmansk.
This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help
improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2017) (Learn
how and when to remove this template message)
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
Factory and 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
Hudson Bay rivers
Hudson Bay sea,
Canada Drainage Basins". The National Atlas of Canada, 5th edition.
Natural Resources Canada. 1985. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
^ Private Tutor. Infoplease.com. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
^ "IHO Publication S-23 Limits of Oceans and Seas; Chapter 9: Arctic
Ocean". International Hydrographic Organization. 2002. Retrieved
^ Lewis, Edward Lyn; Jones, E. Peter; et al., eds. (2000). The
Freshwater Budget of the Arctic Ocean. Springer. pp. 101,
282–283. ISBN 978-0-7923-6439-9. Retrieved 26 November
^ McColl, R.W. (2005). Encyclopedia of World Geography. Infobase
Publishing. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8160-5786-3. Retrieved 26
^ Earle, Sylvia A.; Glover, Linda K. (2008). Ocean: An Illustrated
Atlas. National Geographic Books. p. 112.
ISBN 978-1-4262-0319-0. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
^ Reddy, M. P. M. (2001). Descriptive Physical Oceanography. Taylor
& Francis. p. 8. ISBN 978-90-5410-706-4. Retrieved 26
^ Day, Trevor; Garratt, Richard (2006). Oceans. Infobase Publishing.
p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8160-5327-8. Retrieved 26 November
^ Calow, Peter (12 July 1999). Blackwell's concise encyclopedia of
environmental management. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 7.
ISBN 978-0-632-04951-6. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
^ Wright, John (30 November 2001). The New York Times Almanac 2002.
Psychology Press. p. 459. ISBN 978-1-57958-348-4. Retrieved
29 November 2010.
^ a b Butts, Edward (2009-12-31). Henry Hudson: New World voyager.
Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 170. ISBN 978-1-55488-455-1. Retrieved
1 August 2011.
^ "Nonsuch Gallery".
Manitoba Museum. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
^ a b Galbraith, John S. (1957). The Hudson's Bay Company. University
of California Press.
^ Tyrrell, Joseph (1931). Documents Relating to the Early History of
Hudson Bay: The Publications of the Champlain Society. Toronto:
Champlain Society. doi:10.3138/9781442618336.
Port of Churchill
Port of Churchill shut down after being refused bailout, premier
^ "CSS Acadia". Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Archived from the
original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International
Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
^ GHCN climatic monthly data, GISS, using 1995–2007 annual averages
^ General Survey of World Climatology, Landsberg ed., (1984),
^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus,
globalTwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Stromberg Archived 2008-12-24 at the
Cree ask court to defend traditional rights on
James Bay islands
^ a b c Burgess, P.M., 2008, Phanerozoic evolution of the sedimentary
cover of the North American craton., in Miall, A.D., ed., Sedimentary
Basins of the
United States and Canada, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam,
^ a b c Lavoie, D., Pinet, N., Dietrich, J. and Chen, Z., 2015. The
Hudson Bay Basin in northern Canada: New insights into
hydrocarbon potential of a frontier intracratonic basin. American
Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 99(5), pp. 859-888.
^ a b Roksandic, M.M., 1987, The tectonics and evolution of the Hudson
Bay region, in C. Beaumont and A. J. Tankard, eds., Sedimentary basins
and basin-forming mechanisms. Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists
Memoir 12, p. 507–518.
^ a b c Sanford, B.V. and Grant, A.C., 1998. Paleozoic and Mesozoic
geology of the Hudson and southeast Arctic platforms. Geological
File 3595, scale 1:2 500 000.
^ a b Darbyshire, F.A., and Eaton, D.W., 2010. The lithospheric root
beneath Hudson Bay,
Canada from Rayleigh wave dispersion: No clear
seismological distinction between
Archean and Proterozoic mantle,
Lithos. 120(1-2), 144–159, doi:10.1016/j.lithos.2010.04.010.
^ a b Eaton, D.W., and Darbyshire, F., 2010. Lithospheric architecture
and tectonic evolution of the
Hudson Bay region, Tectonophysics.
480(1-4), 1–22, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2009.09.006.
^ Tamisiea, M.E., Mitrovica, J.X. and Davis, J.L., 2007. GRACE gravity
data constrain ancient ice geometries and continental dynamics over
Laurentia. Science, 316(5826), pp. 881-883.
^ 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
Mines and Resources, Ottawa.
^ Wilson, J.T., 1968. Comparison of the
Hudson Bay arc with some other
features. In: Beals, C.S. (Ed.), pp. 1015-1033. Science, History and
Hudson Bay, Vol. 2. Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Ottawa.
^ Goodings, C.R. & Brookfield, M.E., 1992. Proterozoic
transcurrent movements along the Kapuskasing lineament (Superior
Province, Canada) and their relationship to surrounding structures.
Earth-Science Reviews, 32: 147-185.
^ Bleeker, W., and Pilkington, M., 2004. The 450-km-diameter Nastapoka
Arc: Earth's oldest and largest preserved impact scar? Program with
Abstracts - Geological Association of Canada; Mineralogical
Association of Canada: Joint Annual Meeting, 2004, Vol. 29, pp. 344.
^ "Russian ship crosses 'Arctic bridge' to Manitoba". The Globe and
Mail. Toronto. 18 October 2007. Archived from the original on 20
^ North West Company at a glance
Atlas of Canada, online version.
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.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hudson Bay.
"Hudson Bay". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.).
Earth's oceans and seas
East Siberian Sea
Gulf of Boothia
Prince Gustav Adolf Sea
Queen Victoria Sea
Bay of Biscay
Bay of Bothnia
Bay of Campeche
Bay of Fundy
Gulf of Bothnia
Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Lion
Gulf of Guinea
Gulf of Maine
Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Sidra
Gulf of Venezuela
Sea of Åland
Sea of Azov
Sea of Crete
Sea of the Hebrides
Bay of Bengal
Great Australian Bight
Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Khambhat
Gulf of Kutch
Gulf of Oman
Gulf of Suez
East China Sea
Gulf of Alaska
Gulf of Anadyr
Gulf of California
Gulf of Carpentaria
Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Panama
Gulf of Thailand
Gulf of Tonkin
Mar de Grau
Sea of Japan
Sea of Okhotsk
Seto Inland Sea
South China Sea
King Haakon VII Sea
Bays of Nunavut
De la Beche
Duke of York
Hecla and Griper