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View of the Arctic Sea from the mouth of the Coppermine River (1821) by George Back
|Source||Lac de Gras|
|- location||Northwest Territories, Canada|
|- elevation||396 m (1,299 ft)|
|- location||Nunavut, Arctic Ocean, Canada|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||845 km (525 mi)|
|Basin||50,700 km2 (19,575 sq mi)|
|- average||337.69 m3/s (11,925 cu ft/s) |
|- max||1,500 m3/s (52,972 cu ft/s)|
|- min||10.37 m3/s (366 cu ft/s)|
The Coppermine River is a river in the North Slave and Kitikmeot regions of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada. It is 845 kilometres (525 mi) long. It rises in Lac de Gras, a small lake near Great Slave Lake and flows generally north to Coronation Gulf, an arm of the Arctic Ocean. The river freezes in winter but may still flow under the ice.
The community of Kugluktuk (formerly Coppermine) is located at the river's mouth.
The river was named for the copper ores which could be found along the lower river. Samuel Hearne travelled down the river to the Arctic Ocean in 1771. Sir John Franklin also travelled down the river during the Coppermine Expedition of 1819–1822. In 1826 its mouth was reached by John Richardson who followed the coast from the Mackenzie River.
Bloody Falls, part of the Kugluk/Bloody Falls Territorial Park, is located 18.5 kilometres (11.5 mi) from Kugluktuk, and was home to the Kogluktogmiut a sub-group of the Copper Inuit. It is the site of the Bloody Falls Massacre, when Matonabbee, Samuel Hearne's guide, and his fellow Chipewyan warriors ambushed and massacred the local Inuit.
The river is used for wilderness canoeing and rafting, although it sees only a few groups each year. It features major rapids, such as Rocky Defile, Sandstone, Muskox, and Escape Rapids, as well as many unnamed smaller sets. Bloody Falls is the final major rapid of the river, and must be portaged.
In Jack London's short story, "Love of Life," the main character, exhausted and abandoned, finds himself standing in a stream, "a feeder to the Coppermine River, which in turn flowed north and emptied into Coronation Gulf and the Arctic Ocean." Later in the story, the Coppermine is described as a "wide and sluggish river".
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