Antarctic: Giant iceberg breaks away in front of UK station

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Science

An archive photograph of the leading edge of the ice that’s broken awayA big iceberg roughly the size of Greater London has broken away from the Antarctic, close to Britain’s Halley research station.Sensors on the surface of the Brunt Ice Shelf confirmed the split late on Sunday GMT.Currently, 21 staff are at Halley, maintaining the base and operating its scientific instruments.They are not in any danger and will continue their work until they’re due to be picked up early next month.The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has been operating the station in a reduced role in anticipation of the calving.Halley is positioned a good 20km from the line of rupture.BAS has an array of GPS devices in the area that relay information about ice movements back to the agency’s HQ in Cambridge.The UK has had a research station on the Brunt Ice Shelf since 1957Officials will be inspecting satellite imagery when it becomes available. They will want to see that no unexpected instabilities emerge in the remaining ice shelf platform that holds Halley.A similar sized berg, known as A74, calved in February 2021 further to the east. At the time, it was thought that its departure might initiate the latest breakaway, but these events are beyond any confident prediction.This is the area known to have calved, which up-to-date satellite imagery should confirmWhere exactly is this?It is on the Brunt Ice Shelf, which is the floating protrusion of glaciers that have flowed off the Antarctic continent into the Weddell Sea. On a map, the Weddell Sea is that sector of Antarctica directly to the south of the Atlantic Ocean. The Brunt …

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