British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has released the first aerial pictures of the massive A81 iceberg that calved from the Brunt Ice Shelf in late January.
British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has released the first aerial pictures of the massive A81 iceberg that calved from the Brunt Ice Shelf in late January. The iceberg is the size of Greater London.
As the summer team departed the nearby BAS Halley Research Station they witnessed from the air the start of the iceberg’s journey into the Weddell Sea. The images show the dynamic nature of the iceberg surrounded by smaller icebergs which also broke away.
A81 broke free when a large crack in the ice, called Chasm-1, extended across the entire ice shelf. It is now floating approximately 150km away from its origin. The Brunt Ice Shelf is one of the most closely monitored ice shelves on the planet and is home to the BAS Halley Research Station. Monitoring by BAS glaciologists shows that the research station area currently remains largely unaffected by the calving event. This calving is a natural process along the Antarctic coastline with A81 the second major iceberg from the region in two years.
Glaciologist Dr Oliver Marsh studies the Brunt Ice Shelf and has just returned from Halley Research Station. He says:
“This was a calving we knew was coming. BAS has been monitoring the Brunt Ice Shelf and the chasms formed across it for over a decade. Since glaciologists first observed Chasm-1 widening in 2012, BAS science and operations teams have been anticipating the calving event. High precision GPS instruments as well as satellite data have been used to monitor widening of the chasm and in 2016 BAS took the precaution of moving the Halley Research Station inland to protect it.”
Read more at British Antarctic Survey
Image: The team was able to get to within 500 metres of the giant A76a which is twice the size of Greater London and the largest floating iceberg on Earth. Photo credit: Chris Auckland (BAS).