Thursday, July 31, 2008

Huge ice plain breaks off Canadian Arctic ice shelf

Breaking of ice shelves have been on a drastic rise this year. We urge you to quick, be a part of the solution.

BEIJING, July 30 (Xinhuanet) -- An enormous plain of ice totaling almost eight square miles that had been part of a Canadian Arctic ice shelf for 3,000 years broke off last week in a development consistent with climate change theories, scientists said Tuesday.

The ice broke away from the shelf on Ward Hunt Island, a small island just off giant Ellesmere Island in one of the northernmost parts of Canada.

It was the largest fracture of its kind since the nearby Ayles Ice Shelf — which measured 25 square miles — broke away in 2005.

Scientists had earlier identified deep cracks in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, which measures around 155 square miles. The shelf is one of five along Ellesmere Island in the northern Arctic.

"Because the breakoff occurred between two large parallel cracks they're thinking more could go this summer before the freeze sets in," said Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service. "More could be a piece as large as the Ayles Ice Shelf."

Ellesmere Island was once home to a single enormous ice shelf totaling around 3,500 square miles. All that is left of that shelf today are five much smaller shelves that together cover just under 400 square miles.

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