Message from the past found under an Arctic cairn. (Photo from Denis Sarrazin, CEN/ArcticNet.)
In 1959, an astute 27-year-old geologist from Ohio State named Paul Walker left a message in a bottle near the foot of an Arctic glacier. At the time, he was living in temperatures that average -18 C., 500 miles (800 km) from the nearest human settlement.
Canadian biologist Warwick Vincent found the note this past summer, worldwide correspondents report.
In his mid-20th-century note (above), Walker asked whoever found the bottle to measure how far the glacier had retreated and report back to the research team. The geologist was curious about climate change, even back then, but it’s likely that he would have gasped at the result. Vincent’s 2013 discovery showed that in only half a century, the glacier has shrunk back 233 feet (71 m).
Vincent and his fellow explorer, Denis Sarrazin, added their own similar note, dated 2013, and placed both back in the bottle under the rock cairn. See Holly Richmond’s report in Grist for the other ironic twist to the story.