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Prior to July 2008, only five ice shelves remained in the Canadian Arctic: Serson, Petersen, Milne, Ward Hunt, and Markham. With an estimated age of 4,500 years, these ice shelves were the remnants of a once-massive "glacial fringe" that explorer Robert Peary witnessed in his trek along the Ellesmere Island coast in the early twentieth century. In July 2008, these shelves began disintegrating rapidly. By late August, Ellesmere ice shelves had lost a total of 214 square kilometers (83 square miles).