Monday, December 23, 2013

Cold comfort

On remote Ward Hunt Island in the Canadian Arctic, biologist Warwick Vincent of Laval University in Quebec City and his colleague found a message in a bottle buried under a cairn. On a piece of ruled paper was a pencilled message. It was not a final communiqué from stranded explorers. Instead, it was a scientific request. The note asked anyone venturing that way to measure the distance from the cairn and another that had been piled up to a nearby glacier and to send the information to the address indicated. The bottle had been lying in wait for more than 50 years. The note had been written by a brilliant young geologist named Paul Walker of Ohio State University in 1959. Walker had to be airlifted from the island shortly thereafter for medical reasons and died that same year. But the data he left on the note has assisted Vincent in documenting the break-up of the Ward Hunt ice shelf, the largest in the Arctic and at some points measuring as thick as a 33-storey building. What had been a 1.2 m gap in 1959 has widened to 101.5 m today because of the glacier's shrinkage. The point of comparison is extremely valuable and rare in such an isolated place, and Vincent credits Walker's talents as a scientist for having the forethought to leave the message. Because in the ’50s, it was unthinkable that this would melt.”


  1. It's still unthinkable, and considering our contribution to the phenomenon, unconscionable!

  2. This design is incredible! most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost...HaHa!) Great job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!


You may add your comments here.