Anticosti Island

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Anticosti Island (French, Île d'Anticosti) is an island at the outlet of the Saint Lawrence River into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, in Quebec, Canada, between 49° and 50° N., and between 61° 40' and 64° 30' W. At 7,892.52 km2 (3,047.32 sq mi) in size, it is the 90th largest island in the world and 20th largest island in Canada. Anticosti Island is separated on the north from the Côte-Nord region of Quebec (the Labrador Peninsula) by the Jacques Cartier Strait and on the south from the Gaspé Peninsula by the Honguedo Strait.

Anticosti Island is very large but very sparsely populated (281 people in 2006), mostly in the village of Port-Menier on the western tip of the island, consisting chiefly of the keepers of the numerous lighthouses erected by the Canadian government. The entire island constitutes one municipality officially known as L'Île-d'Anticosti.

Because of the more than 400 shipwrecks off its coasts, Anticosti Island earned the title of "Cemetery of the Gulf".[1]



Anticosti Island is part of the eastern Saint Lawrence lowlands. It is 217 km (135 mi) long and 16–48 km (10–30 mi) wide — 1.5 times larger than the province of Prince Edward Island. Its coastline is 520 km (320 mi) long, and is rocky and dangerous, offering very little shelter for ships except in Gamache, Ellis, and Fox Bays. There are large shoals to the south.[2]

The largest lake on the island is Lake Wickenden, which feeds the Jupiter River. There are numerous rivers on Anticosti, many of which flow through deep gorges and canyons to the north and south shores.[3]

Topographically, Anticosti Island can be divided into three distinct regions: two lowland areas, rarely exceeding 150 metres (490 ft) in altitude, in the eastern and western thirds of the island linked along the coast; and a central highland forming a plateau that rises to just over 300 m (980 ft). This plateau is a uni-directional structure slightly tilted to the south, and is characterized by rolling cuestas. The rocks exposed on the island form a continuous sedimentary strata more than 2,000 m (6,600 ft) thick. This is the most complete strata in eastern North America of the Ordovician and Silurian periods.[3]

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