Vast iceberg breaks off near UK Antarctic base

Vast iceberg breaks off near UK Antarctic base
# 24 January 2023 15:42 (UTC +04:00)

A huge iceberg nearly the size of Greater London has broken off the Antarctic ice shelf near a research station, the second such split in two years, researchers announced Monday, APA reports.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said the formation of the new iceberg—in a natural process called "calving"—was not due to climate change, which is accelerating the loss of sea ice in the Arctic and parts of Antarctica.

The iceberg, measuring 1,550 square kilometers (598 square miles), detached from the 150-meter-thick Brunt Ice Shelf a decade after scientists first spotted massive cracks in the shelf.

A similar spectacular separation, involving a 1,270-square-kilometer iceberg, occurred around a year ago.

"This calving event has been expected and is part of the natural behavior of the Brunt Ice Shelf," said BAS glaciologist Dominic Hodgson.

"It is not linked to climate change."

Britain's Halley VI Research Station monitors the state of the vast floating ice shelf daily but is unaffected by the latest rupture.

The mobile research base was relocated inland for safety reasons in 2016-2017 as cracks in the ice threatened to cut it off.