Breaking News Today

Iceberg bigger than New York City broke off ice shelf in Antarctica

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A giant iceberg broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica on Friday, not far from a British scientific outpost.

A giant iceberg broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica on Friday, not far from a British scientific outpost.

The 1270 square kilometre chunk of ice is bigger than New York City and broke free in a process called calving, according to a statement from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The BAS's Halley Research Station, located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, is closed for the Antarctic winter and its 12-person staff left earlier this month.

READ MORE Strange life forms found under Antarctic ice

Antarctica

Scientists have been expecting a large iceberg to break away for years because of vast cracks that have formed in the 150-metre-thick floating ice shelf, according to the BAS.

A new chasm, known as the North Rift, started moving toward another large crack in November and grew a kilometre a day in January.

Aerial video taken in mid-February shows the North Rift stretching as far as the eye can see.

READ MORE: The Arctic hasn't been this warm for three million years

The crack widened to several hundred meters on Friday morning - freeing it from the rest of the ice shelf, the BAS said.

https://twitter.com/BAS_News/status/1365296381443919874?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

"Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years," said BAS Director Jane Francis in the statement.

She said they get daily updates on the ice shelf from an automated network of high-precision GPS instruments as well as satellite images.

"All the data are sent back to Cambridge for analysis, so we know what's happening even in the Antarctic winter, when there are no staff on the station, it's pitch black, and the temperature falls below minus 50 degrees C," she said.

READ:  Taylor Swift Swipes At Scooter Braun In New Music Video That Ends With Epic Twist
https://twitter.com/BAS_News/status/1365706092341309444?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The BAS moved the Halley Research Station farther inland in 2016 as a precaution and staff have only worked there during the Antarctic summer since 2017 because evacuations would be difficult during the dark winter.

READ MORE How Antarctica will stay coronavirus-free as new arrivals land

"This is a dynamic situation. Four years ago, we moved Halley Research Station inland to ensure that it would not be carried away when an iceberg eventually formed.

"That was a wise decision," BAS Director of Operations Simon Garrod said in the statement.

"Our job now is to keep a close eye on the situation and assess any potential impact of the present calving on the remaining ice shelf."

An even bigger iceberg broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017 and floated into the open ocean late last year.

A fragment which had broken off from one of the largest recorded icebergs, called the A68a, floating near the island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic in December 2020.

There have been six Halley Research Stations in place on the Brunt Ice Shelf since 1956 to make atmospheric and space weather observations.

The ice shelf flows toward the sea at a rate of about 2km per year and icebergs break off at irregular intervals.

"Change in the ice at Halley is a natural process and there is no connection to the calving events seen on Larsen C Ice Shelf, and no evidence that climate change has played a significant role," according to the BAS.

Scientists are now watching the iceberg to see what it will do next.

"Over coming weeks or months, the iceberg may move away; or it could run aground and remain close to Brunt Ice Shelf," Ms Francis said in the statement.

READ:  Woman accused of murdering young Melbourne family pleads not guilty

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/iceberg-breaks-off-antarctica-size-of-new-york-british-antarctic-survey/845aef2b-164b-4670-8251-18a5b5fa3a08

Shares
Share This
Finance Advice 2021