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Salluit Research Station



Field Station Management

General information:  

CEN Salluit Research Station is owned and run by the Centre d’études nordiques (CEN: Centre for northern studies).

Location:   The station is situated in the Inuit community of Salluit (1350 inhabitants), Nunavik, Québec, Canada
Owner:   Centre for Northern Studies (CEN)
Institution in charge:   CEN at Université Laval
Address:   CEN Salluit Research Station
467 Aqqutiqutaak St.
Salluit, Qc J0M 1S0
Tel: 819-255-8353
Opening year:   2011
Operational period:   Year-round
Station networks:  

Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators

INTERACT - International network for terrestrial research and monitoring in the arctic


Keywords:   Tundra, coastline, valley, mountain, permafrost (ice rich), glacial features, Pingaluit national park, coast, rivers, lakes, fjords, wetland, sea ice, fields of ice-wedge polygons, archaeological sites
Climate:   Low arctic
Temperature:   Mean annual temp. -8 °C
Precipitations:   50% rain and 50% snow ; total annual precipitation 300 mm
Permafrost:   Continuous
Altitude:   35 m at the station ; 0 m to 460 m in study area
Natural environment:  

Salluit is located in the low Arctic tundra in the continuous permafrost zone. The hilly bedrock consists principally of gneissic rocks from the Precambrian belonging to the Canadian Shield. The surrounding landscape consists of rocky plateaus with a hilly topography. The region was deglaciated about 8000 years ago and sectors below the 150 m elevation were flooded by the post-glacial d’Iberville Sea. Till and some glacio-fluvial sediments are the major surficial material on the plateaus, while the bottom of the Salluit valley and the other valleys that connect with the fjord (particularly at the fjord head) is composed of fluvial sediments in terraces and marine clay. The geology and the oceanography of the fjord are poorly studied. The fjord opens to Hudson Strait.

Human dimension:  

Inuit and their ancestors have occupied the region for over 3500 years. Many of the key archaeological sites of the Hudson Strait region are along the fjord coastline and along Hudson Strait. The shift from a nomadic lifestyle to permanent settlement led to the population growth of the village in the 1930s. The population size has reached about 1350 inhabitants, with youth constituting an important part of the population.



Anthropology, archeology, sociology, atmospheric chemistry and physics, isotopic chemistry, climatology, climate change, environmental sciences, pollution, geodesy, geology, geomorphology, sedimentology, geophysics, glaciology, geocryologie, geomorphology, soil science, cartography, SIG, marine biology, oceanography, fishery, microbiology, hydrology, terrestrial biology, ecology, paleolimnology, paleoecology, limnology.

Current research :  

Salluit is a major observatory site for CEN permafrost studies, led in partnership with the municipality and other agencies. Studies aim to assess the potential effects of climate change in the continuous permafrost zone (Salluit Project). Built on sensitive permafrost, village infrastructure is being monitored. Over the past 6 years, permafrost related, archaeological and social science research has been undertaken by CEN members who also use the climate data in conjunction with local knowledge. Given its location, this site offers considerable potential for marine studies.

Past research:  

Research has been conducted in the region in both natural and human sciences since the early 1960s by various groups. Permafrost research by the CEN began in 1987. In the context of climate change, a major research program was undertaken in 2002 to support community adaptation to changing and to assist the community in addressing housing and infrastructure needs for the rapidly growing population.

Numerous theses and research papers have been published on permafrost, periglacial geomorphology (for e.g., on ice-wedge polygons, slope processes), archaeology, climatology, paleo-climate (paleo-soils and lake cores), population, culture and land management in the area. Surficial geology and permafrost maps have also been produced for the territory.

Permits and licensing:  

All research activities must be planned well in advance. Station manager and local authorities must be informed of research activities. Permits are not required to access the station or to conduct research in the area.

Climatic and environmental data:  

CEN has collected extensive climate data since 1997 and still operates three climate stations from the CEN SILA Network (www.cen.ulaval.ca/sila) in the area (measured environmental variables). The station also host a magnetometer of the AUTUMNX network managed by Athabasca University.

Nordicana D:  

CEN's Nordicana-D series freely and openly give access to online climatic and environmental data reports archived at CEN, aiding the management of the wealth of environmental data sets produced by CEN's monitoring and research activities. The following data serie is available for this area : CEN 2013. Environmental data from the Salluit Region in Nunavik, Quebec, Canada, v. 1.1 (1987-2012). Nordicana D3, doi: 10.5885/45048SL-4708BCCDFA124359. Visit the Website www.cen.ulaval.ca/nordicanad/ to view the complete list of available data.

Infrastructure and Local Services

Infrastructure presentation:  

The field station (a house) was built in 2011 thanks to a grant acquired from a federal research infrastructure program (2009-2011, the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund (ARIF)).

The station is composed of a single house that can accommodate up to 7 researchers year-round and a container for storing scientific equipment and tools.

The station is a meeting place for the coordination of village relocation studies in relation to changes in permafrost. It will also serve as a Permafrost Community Research Training Centre for community involvement linked to permafrost monitoring.

Total area:   The total available area is 50 m2.
Number of rooms (beds):   A total of 3 rooms (6 beds) are available.

No staff member is present at the station.

Capacity:   6 visitors at the time.

House contains bathroom, living room, kitchen and washer/dryer. Solar and electric powers are available 24/7. Non-drinkable water is delivered by the municipality to the house’s reservoir. Garbage collection is on a weekly basis, containers are available for this purpose. Recyclables are not locally collected.

Communication :  

A telephone is available in the house (819-255-8353) for local calls only. A calling card must be used for all long distance calls. Rental of an internet modem is possible via www.tamaani.ca for about $60/month. Once you have the modem, there is a router installed in the house so you can use internet throughout the station. Satellite phones and VHF are available for rent for members from the CEN. E-mail access and printer, scannerand fax services are available in the village.

Scientific equipment:  

None. Chemical storage is not authorized. 

Vehicles :  

Snowmobiles, quads and 4x4 trucks can be rented (read the safety guidines). Must make prior arrangements for fuel consumption.

Local resources:  

Metal workshop (in town)
Wood workshop (in town)
Plexiglas workshop (in town)
Local guides and translators available for hire.

How to Get There

Access :  

Daily access by commercial airlines from Montréal, Québec City and Radisson (100 km south). Every summer, several cargo ships allow shipping of heavy equipment and materials (May-June to August-September), though this requires advance planning.

Charter services:  

Nunavik Rotors, Héli-Inter and Whapchiwem offer helicopter services. Air Inuit and Air Creebec offer air charters. 

Landing facilities:  

Gravel airstrip of 1174 × 30 m (length × width). Airport is located 3 km from the station. Lake landing and heliport are available. Ship docking facilities (landing wharf and pier) are found. 

Safety, Medical Services and Insurance

Safety equipment:  

Safety equipment recommended for work outside the village: pepper spray, scaring pistol, communication device, first aid kit, weapon. Hire of a local guide.

Insurance :  

It is the responsibility of the user of the station to ensure that he or she has the necessary insurance to complete his or her research. The CSST provides insurance coverage to employees or student employees only for accidents at work. In all other cases, personal insurance must cover victims for accidents and evacuation. It is therefore essential to have adequate coverage in terms of activity and destination. Quebec Health Insurance is valid in the area.

Medical services:  

Well-equipped medical facilities (standard) and staff with basic medical training (2 employees) are found at the CLSC (community hospital). Nearest hospital is in Puvirnituq (45 min. by plane) or Kuujjuaq (1-2 h). The station is not equipped with compulsory safety equipment.

Airborne medical emergency:  

Air medic offers individual, family, and temporary protection plan to obtain emergency medical or airborne services on 100% of the Quebec territory.

Reservation and Fees

Reservation presentation:  

The station and related services are available to all researchers (university, college, governmental and private) working in the area. The station can also accommodate small groups of students.

Availability :  

Calendar of reservations

Cost :  

Rate schedule

Rules at the station:  

Visitors, to make your stay comfortable and make sure you meet the requirements of CEN, please read the rules at the station.


On the web:  



Contact the Station Manager in Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik : station@cen.ulaval.ca

Phone at the CEN Station in Salluit : 819-255-8353
Pavillon Abitibi-Price
2405, rue de la Terrasse
Université Laval
Québec (Québec)
Canada, G1V 0A6
Tel.: 418-656-3340

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