Skip to main content

Photos: The World's Farthest North Spring

Amazing Far North Find

Ellesmere Island spring

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

A fast-flowing spring gushes year-round on Canada's Ellesmere Island, Canadian researchers recently discovered. The freshwater spring is the world's farthest north perennial spring ever discovered. The deep gash carved in a hillside by the spring resembles gullies on Mars, the scientists said.

Aerial view

Ellesmere Island spring

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

This image, snapped from above, shows the spring-carved gully in the hillside above "Ice River" on Ellesmere Island.

Mars analog?

Mars gullies

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

Gully features on Mars look similar to the spring at Ice River on Ellesmere Island.

Springing forth

Ice River spring

(Image credit: Steve Grasby/GSA)

A view looking north toward the unnamed mountain and spring, indicated by the red arrow. The valley in the middle of the photograph is Ice River.

Ice River

Ellesmere Island ice River

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

The informally-named Ice River is filled with ice all year, fed by the spring nearby.

High Arctic hike

Ellesmere Island ice River

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

A member of the Natural Resources Canada research team hikes across ice below the spring.

Stunning sight

Ellesmere Island spring canyon

(Image credit: Steve Grasby)

The spring flows all year, carving a deep gully with walls up to 30 feet (9 meters) high.

Becky Oskin
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.