In another horrendous act of shelf-destruction, scientists have announced that an iceberg has split from the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica; one approximately the size of Los Angeles. Scientists were expecting the 490-square-mile iceberg to cleave for years; but only recently observed signs that the icy separation was imminent. Below is a brief flyover of the new crack, which widened several hundred yards in just a few hours.
Earther reported on the Antarctic event, which the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is currently monitoring. BAS, a national organization in the UK, announced the breaking news recently. The organization noted that that it first detected relatively significant splitting—or “calving”—in the 492-foot-thick ice sheet in November 2020.
Last year, a new chasm—the North Rift—approached another large split between the iceberg and its parent ice shelf. (An ice shelf is a floating sheet of ice that connects to a landmass.) Subsequently the BAS glaciologists left the Halley Research Station, which they’d already moved inland in preparation of the event.
“Four years ago we moved Halley Research Station inland to ensure that it would not be carried away when an iceberg eventually formed,” Simon Garrod, Director of Operations at BAS said in a press release. “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.”
In the tweet above, BAS glaciologist, Oliver Marsh, provides a GPS view of the split. Note that, despite the fact the berg’s split off, it continues to float near its parent shelf; meaning it must be
a Millennial drifting with the tides at the moment. Garrod says that in the coming months it may move away. Or even end up running aground against the shelf.
British Antarctic Survey
In the future, the BAS glaciologists say they’ll continue monitoring this particular, gigantic iceberg; one of many along the 19,000-mile-long Antarctic coastline. The Halley Research Station is also safe from the active chasms, as it’s on the part of the Brunt Ice Shelf that’s still connected to land. For now, anyway.
Feature image: British Antarctic Survey