Santiago de Chile, Mar 1 (efe-epa).- A large iceberg approximately the same size as the London metropolitan area has broken off from an ice shelf in Antarctica, almost 10 years after scientists detected the first cracks in the ice.
The 1,270 square kilometer-large ice block, which broke away from the rest of the ice cap early Friday morning, is less than 20 kilometers from the British Halley VI station, where 12 scientists who were evacuated in advance in mid-February are working, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) polar research center reported on Monday.
“Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years,” BAS director Jane Francis said in the statement.
This is the third major crack that has formed in the last decade on the Brunt shelf, which is a floating bulge of glaciers that have flowed from the land into the Weddell Sea in the southern Atlantic Ocean.
The team is monitoring the fault with “an automated network of high-precision GPS instruments around the station” and sends the data to Cambridge University in the UK, according to the BAS.
“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,” BAS operations manager Simon Garrod said for his part.
The iceberg is of considerable size, but falls short of A-68A, which broke off in July 2017 from the Larsen C ice shelf on the western side of the Weddell Sea.
A-68A, whose trajectory could take it into waters off St. Peter’s Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, has broken into several pieces and is melting at an average rate of about 2.5 centimeters per day, making its shape ever-changing and requiring constant monitoring. EFE-EPA