"The map of Canada has changed."
New cracks in the largest remaining Arctic ice shelf suggest another polar landmark seems destined to break up and disappear.
Scientists discovered the extensive new cracks in the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf earlier this year and a patrol of Canadian Rangers got an up-close look at them last week.
"The map of Canada has changed," said Derek Mueller of Trent University, who was amazed to find how quickly the shelf has deteriorated since he discovered the first crack in 2002.
"These changes are happening in concert with other indicators of climate change."
Mueller and his fellow researchers were expected to release their findings on Saturday. But a patrol of Canadian Rangers travelling west last week from CFB Alert at the northern tip of Ellesmere Island saw the cracks first-hand.
"We're looking at the possible demise of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf," said Doug Stern, a Ranger and Parks Canada employee, who was on the patrol and has been helping Mueller with his research.