Institut nordique du Québec

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McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS)

Institution hôte : Université McGill
Affiliation : n/a




The McGill Arctic Research Station (MARS) is located at the head of Expedition Fiord on west side of Axel Heiberg Island. MARS was established in 1960 and it is one of the oldest university operated field stations in the Canadian Arctic. Initially created to conduct research on climate, glaciology, geology, geomorphology and biology, data from MARS has helped establish the scientific baseline for Canada’s polar region. Its current mission is to provide baseline data for the early detection of climate change in the north, to characterize unique polar ecosystems and their susceptibility of environmental change, and to provide opportunities for student training and research. The current research emphasis is in the fields of glaciology, geology, climatology, hydrology, geocryology, microbiology, astrobiology, remote sensing, geophysics and analogue studies.


1. The station consists of 2 outpost camps roughtly 8 km apart: the original MARS research station at Colour Lake, and a Candian Space Agency (CSA) sponsored MARS analogue research station (MARS-CARN). Both camps include a combination of permanent heated all season buldings and unheated weatherhaven structures; 2. There is a decidated laboratory space but in house equipment is limited. Research projects usually are self-equipped; 3. Dormitory/Sleeping facilities: 10 main cabin (heated), 4 Weatherhaven (heated), 2 unheated Alaskan Structure; 4. Dining/Kitchen facilities: 2 Full kitchens (MARS and MARS-CAN), with propane stoves, freezers and refrigerators. Dining capacity 12 persons in MARS and 8 MARS-CARN; 5. Telephone (Vonage VoIP), Satellite phone, HF & VHF, Internet, Computer, 2 snowmobiles and 4 ATVs. Power for both camps is from a combination of solar/wind and several generators.


Wayne Pollard
Department of Geography, Burnside Hall, 805 Sherbrooke Street West


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