From: British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Published January 16, 2017 01:23 PM

Halley Research Station Antarctica to close for winter

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided not to winter at Halley VI Research Station for safety reasons. The station, which is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, will shut down between March and November 2017.  Changes to the ice, particularly the growth of a new crack, presents a complex glaciological picture that means that BAS scientists are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter. As a precautionary measure BAS will remove its people before the Antarctic winter begins.

Halley VI station is in the final stages of being relocated 23 km from its present site to put it upstream of a previously dormant ice chasm that began to show signs of growth in 2012.

In October 2016, a second crack appeared some 17 km to the north of the research station.  Since then glaciologists have monitored the growth of this crack using a network of GPS instruments that measure the deformation of the ice, together with European Space Agency satellite imagery, ground penetrating radar, and on-site drone footage, which show that the recent changes to the Brunt Ice Shelf have not been seen before.  They have run computer models and created bathymetric maps to determine whether or not a large iceberg will calve, and the impact that could have on the remaining ice shelf.  They conclude that they are unable to predict with certainty what will happen to the ice shelf during the forthcoming Antarctic winter and beyond.

 

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