Richard Fortier, ing., Ph.D.


Centre d'études nordiques
Professeur titulaire
Département de géologie et de génie géologique
Université Laval
Québec (Québec)
G1V 0A6

Poste: 402746 (GLG-GGL)
Station Manager:
Richard Fortier


CEN Salluit Research Station is owned and run by Centre d’études  Nordiques (CEN: Centre for Northern Studies) whose secretariat is  based at Université Laval, Québec, Canada.


The station is situated in the Inuit community of Salluit, Nunavik,  Québec, Canada (62°12’ N, 75°38’ W).


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 village is located in a valley that opens to the shore of Sugluk inlet (a fjord). The surrounding landscape consists of rocky plateaus with a hilly topography. The region was deglaciated  about 8000 years ago and sectors below the elevation of 150 m  were inundated by the post-glacial d’Iberville Sea. Till and some glacio-fluvial sediments are the major surficial materials on the plateaus, while the Salluit valley and the other valleys that connect with the fjord (particularly at the fjord head) are floored with  fluvial sediments in terraces and marine clay.  The geology and the oceanography of the fjord are poorly studied.  The fjord opens to Hudson Strait.  Mean annual air temperature is c. -8 °C and annual precipitation c. 300 mm (50 % snow).


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 permafrost and to assist the community in addressing housing and infrastructure needs for the rapidly growing population. The field station (a house) was built in 2010 thanks to a grant acquired from a federal research infrastructure program.


Numerous theses and research papers have been published on permafrost, periglacial geomorphology (ice-wedges, slope processes), archaeology, climatology, paleo-climate (paleo-soils and lake cores), population, culture and land management in the area. Climate and permafrost temperature data from automatic stations, in operation since August 2002, which are available at: or upon request ( Surficial geology and permafrost maps have also been produced for the territory.


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 growth of the village in the 1930s with the installation of the Hudson Bay Company and churches. The population size has reached about 1350 inhabitants, with youths constituting an important part of the population.


Access is by commercial airlines from Montréal and Québec city. Every summer, several cargo ships allow shipping of heavy equipment and materials, though this requires planning in advance. The station has no permanent staff. Local support for services and field work is available in the community. Station users are instructed to do their cleaning and take good care of the premises and do minimal maintenance, if needed. Contact CEN ( for more information.

EU Logo