VIDEO: Huge iceberg breaks off coast of Antarctica
A huge iceberg that is 490 square miles broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica nearly a decade after cracks in the ice were first detected.
Scientists said their first indication the event was imminent was in November 2020 when a new chasm, the North Rift, headed towards another large chasm near the Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue.
In January, the rift pushed northeast at more than half a mile a day through the floating ice shelf that is 150 meters (500-feet) thick.
On the morning of February 26, the crack widened enough to separate it from the rest of the ice shelf, creating the 490 square mile iceberg.
“Over coming weeks or months, the iceberg may move away; or it could run aground and remain close to Brunt Ice Shelf. Halley Station is located inland of all the active chasms, on the part of the ice shelf that remains connected to the continent. Our network of GPS instruments will give us early warning if the calving of this iceberg causes changes in the ice around our station,” Professor Dame Jane Francis, Director of British Antarctic Survey said.
“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. 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. We continuously review our contingency plans to ensure the safety of our staff, protect our research station, and maintain the delivery of the science we undertake at Halley,” said Simon Garrod, Director of Operations at British Antarctic Survey.