Markham Ice Shelf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Markham Ice Shelf was one of five[1] major ice shelves in Canada, all on the north coast of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut. The ice shelf broke off from the coast in early August 2008, becoming adrift in the Arctic Ocean. The 4,500-year-old ice shelf was then 19 square miles (49 km2) in size, nearly the size of Manhattan,[2] and approximately ten stories tall.[3] On September 3, 2008, CNN quoted Derek Mueller, of Trent University in Ontario, Canada as saying to the Associated Press:

"The Markham Ice Shelf was a big surprise because it suddenly disappeared. We went under cloud for a bit during our research and when the weather cleared up, all of a sudden there was no more ice shelf. It was a shocking event that underscores the rapidity of changes taking place in the Arctic... The Markham Ice Shelf had half the biomass for the entire Canadian Arctic Ice Shelf ecosystem as a habitat for cold tolerant microbial life; algae that sit on top of the ice shelf and photosynthesize like plants would. Now that it's disappeared, we're looking at ecosystems on the verge of extinction.[4]

As of September 6, 2008, it was floating in the Arctic Ocean.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Vincent, W. F., Mueller, D. R., & Bonilla, S. (2004). Ecosystems on ice: the microbial ecology of Markham Ice Shelf in the high Arctic. CRYOBIOLOGY. 48 (2), 103-112. OCLC 195074993


  1. ^ Ljunggren, David (2008-09-02). "Massive Canada Arctic ice shelf breaks away". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-09-03. [not in citation given]
  2. ^ Noronha, Charmaine (2008-09-03). "19-square-mile ice sheet breaks loose in Canada". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  3. ^ Satariano, Adam (2008-09-03). "Canadian Arctic Ice Sheet Nearly Size of Manhattan Breaks Off". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 2008-09-07. 
  4. ^ "4,500-year-old ice shelf breaks away". 2008-09-03. Retrieved 2008-09-03. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Ice shelf breaks away in Canadian Arctic". The Los Angeles Times. 2008-09-06. Archived from the original on September 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-07.