Halley Research Station

Climate & Environment
1270 km² iceberg breaks off Antarctica
North Rift crack photographed by Halley team in January 2021
North Rift crack photographed by Halley team in January 2021 Credit: British Antarctic Survey (BSA)

1270 km² glacier has broken off the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica, the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) reported. The chunk, which is larger than New York City, broke off on Friday. Glaciologists have been expecting the event for over a decade and had gotten first indications that the iceberg would break off last November.

"The first indication that a calving event was imminent came in November 2020 when a new chasm – called North Rift – headed towards another large chasm near the Stancomb-Wills Glacier Tongue 35 km away. North Rift is the third major crack through the ice shelf to become active in the last decade," the statement of the BSA read. "Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years. We monitor the ice shelf daily using an automated network of high-precision GPS instruments that surround the station, these measure how the ice shelf is deforming and moving."