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Dec 23, 2013 10:40 AM EST

54 Year Old Message-In-A-Bottle In Arctic Canada Shows Unusual Environmental Foresight

Ward Hunt Island
(Photo : wikicommons) Ward Hunt Island is Canada's closest land holding to the North Pole.

Scientists exploring Ward Hunt Island, one of Canada's harshest (average temperature: -18 degrees Fahrenheit) and most remote locations, discovered a 54 year-old message-in-a-bottle beside a glacier, indicating a sense of environmental foresight unusual for the times, Canada's Chronicle Herald reported.

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"To Whom It May Concern," began Paul Walker (no relation, but also deceased), a then 25 year-old geologist. "Anyone venturing this way is requested to remeasure the distance and send the information to," he wrote before leaving the address of his Ohio Laboratory and the Boston address of his colleague and fellow voyager, Albert Crary.

Walker and Crary had hidden the bottled note underneath a pile of rocks about 1.5 meters from the glacier, according to the Chronicle Herald (click for picture of the note). When a group of scientists led by Warwick Vincent, a Laval University biologist, discovered it 54 years later this summer, the distance was over 100 meters. Clearly, Walker and Crary anticipated climate change before such ideas were common. "Thank you very much," they politely concluded their message.

"Because in the '50's, it was unthinkable that this would melt," said Vincent, who wasn't surprised by the glacier's decline given more extensive data of the area.

Though Walker died in 1959, the same year he left the note, he and Crary would become famous for their contributions to the field, according to the Chronicle Herald. Vincent recognized the names immediately, even if he had to do some further research to truly discover the particular talents of the young Walker.

Vincent left the note as he found it, but sent pictures to the Ohio University where Walker once worked. He also included his own message beside Walker's, documenting his most recent measurements and asking the next brave explorer of Ward Hunt Island to measure the distance between the rocks and the glacier.

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