Carving Up the Arctic

As the ice cap melts, countries are lining up for the economic payoff. Plus, a New Orleans presidential debate

The landscape at the top of the world has always had a frozen allure. It was the imaginary precinct of explorers who dreamed about a Northwest Passage and industrialists who fantasized about the oil and gas reserves under the ice. But as a new study showed, that landscape is changing radically: the ice cap is the smallest it has been in recorded history. That change has ushered in the first great gold rush of the 21st century as the countries along the Arctic Circle stake claims to territory and resources thousands of feet under the melting crust.

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