An iceberg in Antarctica (illustration).
NEW CHINA / SIPA
Not far from a British research station which has long feared events of this nature in the area, an iceberg the size of the agglomerations of Paris or London broke away from Antarctica on Friday morning, according to data collected by the station.
This iceberg, which broke away from the rest of the pack ice, is nearly 1,270 square kilometers.
The research team evacuated in mid-February
No human life is threatened, since the 12 people who worked so far in the Halley VI station, located less than 20 kilometers from the rupture zone, were evacuated in mid-February by plane, said in a statement the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), research organization on the polar areas which exploits the place.
"Our teams have been prepared for years for an iceberg to detach from the Brunt ice shelf," said Jane Francis, director of BAS, the teams monitoring "daily" the advance of the faults thanks to "a network automated high-precision GPS instrumentation around the station ”.
This data, then sent to the University of Cambridge for analysis, made it possible to give the alert on Friday without anyone being on site.
The station moved a few meters in 2017
Already in 2017, the BAS had decided to reduce the presence in this station built in 2012 and move it a few kilometers, fearing that it would end up on a drifting iceberg, following the melting of the ice.
A "wise decision", now believes Simon Garrod, director of operations at BAS.
"Our job now is to closely monitor the situation and assess any potential impact of this detachment on the remaining ice shelf," he added.
Several scenarios are now possible for the months to come: "either the iceberg will move away, or it will run aground and stay" nearby, estimates Jane Francis.
The teams are not coming back anytime soon, as the station remains closed for the remainder of the Arctic winter.
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