Torngat Mountains

For the electoral district, see Torngat Mountains (electoral district).
Torngat Mountains

Folded rocks of the Torngat Mountains
Highest point
Peak Mount Caubvick (Mont D'Iberville)
Elevation 1,652 m (5,420 ft)
Coordinates 58°53′01″N 63°42′57″W / 58.88361°N 63.71583°W / 58.88361; -63.71583
Area 30,067 km2 (11,609 sq mi)
Country Canada
States/Provinces Labrador and Quebec
Range coordinates 59°25′N 64°30′W / 59.42°N 64.5°W / 59.42; -64.5Coordinates: 59°25′N 64°30′W / 59.42°N 64.5°W / 59.42; -64.5
Parent range Arctic Cordillera

The Torngat Mountains are a mountain range on the Labrador Peninsula at the northern tip of Newfoundland and Labrador and eastern Quebec. They are part of the Arctic Cordillera.[1] The mountains form a peninsula that separates Ungava Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.


The Torngat Mountains have a substantial geographical extent. About 56% of the range is located in Quebec, 44% is in Labrador, and the remainder, less than 1%, is located on Killiniq Island in Nunavut. At least 2% of the mountain chain is under water, and poorly surveyed. The Torngat Mountains cover 30,067 square kilometres (11,609 sq mi), including lowland areas and extend over 300 km (186 mi) from Cape Chidley in the north to Hebron Fjord in the south. The Torngat Mountains have the highest peaks of eastern continental Canada.


The highest point is Mount Caubvick (also known as Mont D'Iberville) at 1,652 m (5,420 ft). There are no trees in the Torngat Mountains because the mountains lie in an arctic tundra climate and are therefore above the tree line.

Permafrost is continuous on the Quebec side of the border, and it is extensive but discontinuous on the eastern Atlantic side. The terrain is over 300 m (984 ft) above sea level and is predominantly rocky desert.

Highest Peaks of the Torngat Mountains
Rank Name m ft
1 Mount Caubvick 1652 5420
2 Torngarsoak Mountain 1595 5232
3 Cirque Mountain 1568 5144
4 Peak 5100 (24I/16) 1554+ 5100+
5 Peak 5074 1547 5074
6 Mount Erhart 1539 5049
7 Jens Haven 1531 5023
8 Peak 5000 (24P/01) 1524+ 5000+
9 Peak 5000 (24I/16) 1524+ 5000+
10 Innuit Mountain 1509 4951


Torngat Mountains and Nachvak Fjord
Aerial view of Four Peaks region of Torngat Mountains

Precambrian gneisses that comprise the Torngat Mountains are among the oldest on Earth and have been dated at roughly 3.6 to 3.9 billion years old.[2] Geologists recognize the gneisses of the Torngats as a part of the Canadian Shield or Laurentian Upland,[3] which, composing the very old North American Craton, split from the continent of Rodinia roughly 750 million years ago to form the geologic core of North America.[4]

However, the mountain-building or orogeny of the Torngats took place much more recently, and is characteristic of the folding and faulting that defines the series of geological events known as Arctic Cordillera.[5] This, according to some, makes the Torngats, as mountains, "distinct compared to the surrounding Precambrian Canadian Shield,"[6] though they are ultimately composed of shield rock. Evidence of this dramatic cordilleran folding and faulting characterizing the Torngat Mountains can be seen distinctly in rocks where the North American Craton long ago collided with the Nain Craton, later exposed in cross-section by glacial scouring, especially at Saglek Fjord.[7]


The ranges of the Torngat Mountains are separated by deep fjords and finger lakes surrounded by sheer rock walls. The fjords were produced by glaciation. The Laurentide ice sheet covered most of the mountains at least once, however during the last ice age the coverage was more limited.

Currently, there are over 100 active small mountain glaciers in the Torngat Mountains with a total of about 195 ice masses in the region.[8][9]

Flora and fauna

Caribou travel through the Torngat Mountains, and polar bears roam along the coast. Numerous species of vegetation common to the Arctic region of Canada are also found in the Torngat Mountains.

The name Torngat is derived from an Inuktitut word meaning place of spirits, sometimes interpreted as place of evil spirits.[2]

The Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve was announced on 1 December 2005. It aims to protect wildlife (caribou, polar bears, peregrine falcon and golden eagle among others), while offering wilderness-oriented recreational activities.[10]

In the CBC Series Geological Journey the Torngat mountains are featured. Notably, a billion-year-old coal seam (based on algae, not peat swamps) was discovered in the Torngat mountains on the Newfoundland Coast as part of the filming of the series.

Backcountry Magazine ran a feature story written by Drew Pogge in 2009 on steep skiing in the Torngat Mountains, notably first descents in Nachvak and Saglek fjords, as well as on the Caubvick massif.

See also


  1. Park Wardens - Arctic Cordillera
  2. 1 2 "Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve". Parks Canada. Retrieved 2009-01-10.
  4. Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall, Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey (Markham, Ont., Fitzhenry & Whiteside: 2007) pp. 66-67.
  5. Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall, Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey (Markham, Ont., Fitzhenry & Whiteside: 2007)
  6. Exhumation of the Torngat Mountains, Northern Labrador, Canada, J. P. Centeno, D. F. Stockli, J. Gosse.
  7. Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall, Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey (Markham, Ont., Fitzhenry & Whiteside: 2007) p. 100.
  8. R.Way (2013). The Glaciers of the Torngat Mountains of northern Labrador. Memorial University of Newfoundland. MSc Thesis, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  9. "An inventory and topographic analysis of glaciers in the Torngat Mountains, northern Labrador, Canada". Journal of Glaciology. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
  10. "Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve". Parks Canada. Retrieved 2008-06-17.

Further reading

  • Ives, J. D. 1957. "Glaciation of the Torngat Mountains, Northern Labrador". Arctic. 10, no. 2: 67-87.
  • Kobalenko, Jerry. 2007. "Ghost Coast - Kayaking the Foreboding Fiords of Torngat Mountains National Park". Canadian Geographic. 127, no. 3: 38.
  • Schaefer, James A, and Stuard N Luttich. 1998. "Articles - Movements and Activity of Caribou, Rangifer Tarandus Caribou, of the Torngat Mountains, Northern Labrador and Quebec". The Canadian Field-Naturalist. 112, no. 3: 486.
  • Way, R.G., Bell, T. and Barrand, N.E. 2014. "An inventory and topographic analysis of glaciers in the Torngat Mountains, northern Labrador, Canada". Journal of Glaciology. 60, no. 223: 945-956.
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