Massive 490-square mile iceberg breaks off Antarctica

A massive 490-square mile iceberg has broken off an ice shelf in Antarctica.

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Glaciologists at the British Antarctic Survey’s Halley Research Station have expected the chunk of ice to break from the Brunt Ice Shelf for at least a decade, officials said.

“Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years,” Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey, said in a statement.

Brunt Ice Shelf calves along the North Rift chasm - A huge iceberg (1270 km²) the size of the county of Bedfordshire has...

Posted by British Antarctic Survey on Friday, February 26, 2021

The team noticed the third major crack, the North Rift, in November. The crack headed toward another break about 20 miles away. The iceberg formed after the cracks widened Feb. 26 and the ice broke off.

The station is closed for the winter and will not be affected by the calving event. The station was moved further inland in 2016 because of two chasms that had formed.

“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,” Simon Garrod, director of operations for the agency, said in a statement. “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.”


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