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Engineers Fixing Ice Station Amid Risk of Ice Calving

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HALLEY STATION, ANTARCTICA — Amid fears that the structure might meet a catastrophic end when the ice it stands on breaks off into the ocean, a small party of engineers has reopened the UK’s Halley research station in the Antarctic.

The BBC reports that the base had been “mothballed”; in part because of Covid, but also because the ice shelf it stands on could soon calve into the ocean.

The British Antarctic Survey, or BAS, is trying to avoid having staff in the base when this happens. But some maintenance still has to be performed and a suite of instruments needs servicing.

The party of ten will only stay until mid-February before shutting Halley down again. Halley station sits on a floating platform of ice known as the Brunt Ice Shelf.

The shelf has developed a number of cracks over the years, and the widening of two of these prompted BAS in 2017 to move Halley to a more secure location. The whole station was dragged on skis over 20km upstream.

The most obvious piece to break away has been stubbornly hanging on by a thread for months. This 1,500 square kilometer chunk of ice needs to calve before the station can be reopened.

SOURCES: BBC, Mirage News
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55573397
https://www.miragenews.com/bas-field-season-underway/

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