Antarctic research lab threatened by 30-mile long crack on ice, vacated


Research lab in Antarctica vacated after a 30-mile long crack appeared on nearby ice

ANTARCTICA (INTELLIHUB) — A 30-mile long crack that appeared on the ice has made researchers extremely nervous, prompting them to “vacate” their encampment entirely.

This will mark the first time in 60-years that the British research facility Halley VI will be shut down due to rapidly changing conditions on the ice shelf which have pinned in the facility between two massive fissures.

A massive new crack in the ice opened up all the way down to sea water for a 30-mile span. The average thickness of the ice in the area is estimated to be about 400 feet, which will allow the research team to eventually return and relocate the 8 detachable pods.

“[…] when the time comes the pods can be towed on their ski-like feet,” PBS News Hour’s Julia Griffin explained.

The team’s Director of Science David Vaughn said the facility feels like a “large ship on the ice, looking out across the vast expanse of essentially nothingness.”

Vaughn said that the two cracks have made the ice shelf as a whole “very unpredictable.”

“Maybe the ice shelf will go back to a new equilibrium in time, but at the moment we just can’t predict with any certainty how long that will take.”

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