NATIONAL NEWS

Huge Iceberg Bigger Than New York City Breaks Off Near UK Base In Antarctica

Feb 28, 2021, 1:45 PM

An airplane flies over the North Rift crack in the Brunt Ice Shelf in January.
(British Antarctic S...

An airplane flies over the North Rift crack in the Brunt Ice Shelf in January. (British Antarctic Survey via AP)

(British Antarctic Survey via AP)

A giant iceberg broke off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica on Friday, not far from a British scientific outpost.

The 490 square miles (1270 square kilometers) chunk of ice is bigger than New York City and broke free in a process called calving, according to a statement from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

The BAS’s Halley Research Station, located on the Brunt Ice Shelf, is closed for the Antarctic winter and its 12-person staff left earlier this month.

Scientists have been expecting a large iceberg to break away for years because of vast cracks that have formed in the 150-meter-thick floating ice shelf, according to the BAS.

A new chasm, known as the North Rift, started moving toward another large crack in November and grew a kilometer a day in January.

Aerial video taken in mid-February shows the North Rift stretching as far as the eye can see.

The crack widened to several hundred meters on Friday morning — freeing it from the rest of the ice shelf, the BAS said.

“Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years,” said BAS Director Jane Francis in the statement.

She said they get daily updates on the ice shelf from an automated network of high-precision GPS instruments as well as satellite images.

“All the data are sent back to Cambridge for analysis, so we know what’s happening even in the Antarctic winter, when there are no staff on the station, it’s pitch black, and the temperature falls below minus 50 degrees C (or -58F),” she said.

The BAS moved the Halley Research Station farther inland in 2016 as a precaution and staff have only worked there during the Antarctic summer since 2017 because evacuations would be difficult during the dark winter.

“This is a dynamic situation. Four years ago, we moved Halley Research Station inland to ensure that it would not be carried away when an iceberg eventually formed. That was a wise decision,” BAS Director of Operations Simon Garrod said in the statement. “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.”

An even bigger iceberg broke away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in 2017 and floated into the open ocean late last year.

There have been six Halley Research Stations in place on the Brunt Ice Shelf since 1956 to make atmospheric and space weather observations.

The ice shelf flows toward the sea at a rate of about 2 kilometers per year and icebergs break off at irregular intervals.

“Change in the ice at Halley is a natural process and there is no connection to the calving events seen on Larsen C Ice Shelf, and no evidence that climate change has played a significant role,” according to the BAS.

Scientists are now watching the iceberg to see what it will do next.

“Over coming weeks or months, the iceberg may move away; or it could run aground and remain close to Brunt Ice Shelf,” Francis said in the statement.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

A charred car and the remains of the Swiss Chalet Hotel are pictured after being destroyed by the S...

Associated Press

FBI seeks suspects in 2 New Mexico wildfires that killed 2 people, damaged hundreds of buildings

Full-time residents of Ruidoso will be allowed to return home Monday as federal authorities seek to prosecute whoever started a pair of New Mexico wildfires that killed two people and destroyed or damaged hundreds of buildings and homes.

41 minutes ago

South Cedar Street is underwater after days of heavy rain led to flooding in the area, Saturday, Ju...

Associated Press

Millions swelter as temperatures soar across the US, while floodwaters inundate the Midwest

Millions of Americans sweated through yet another scorching day as temperatures soared Sunday across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest, including in an Iowa town where the flood gauge was submerged. One person was killed during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said.

10 hours ago

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows, from left, Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, background left, ...

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

‘Inside Out 2’ scores $100M in its second weekend, setting records

The Pixar sequel collected $100 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, setting a new record for an animated movie in its follow-up frame in theaters.

14 hours ago

Apple's "By the Seaside" is perhaps one of the company's most controversial tunes, drawing the ire ...

Krystal Hur, CNN

Hate Apple’s ‘By the Seaside’ alarm tune? You’re not alone

Critics of the common alarm "By the Seaside" sound on Apple iPhones are speaking out.

22 hours ago

FILE: Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday, June 20, 2...

Associated Press

2 crop dusting airplanes collided in southern Idaho, killing 1 pilot and severely injuring the other

Two crop dusting airplanes collided near an airport in southern Idaho on Thursday and crashed to the ground, killing one of the pilots and leaving the other with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

2 days ago

A SkyWest Airlines jet approaches Salt Lake International Airport on Sept. 24, 2022. SkyWest announ...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Flights between St. George and Los Angeles to resume after 4-year delay

St. George-based SkyWest Airlines announced this week that daily flights between St. George Regional Airport and Los Angeles International Airport will return this fall, through United Express, one of SkyWest's different airline service partners.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Huge Iceberg Bigger Than New York City Breaks Off Near UK Base In Antarctica