The decision was
taken after a huge crack appeared in the Brunt Ice Shelf, just
10 miles away from the Halley VI research station.
"We want to do the right thing for our people,” said Captain Tim
Stocking, Director of Operations at the British Antarctic
"Bringing them home for winter is a prudent precaution given the
changes that our glaciologists have seen in the ice shelf in
There are currently 88 scientists stationed at the Halley VI
research centre, which monitors climate data and played a key
role in discovering the ozone hole in 1986.
The station is currently undergoing a process of relocation,
after a fissure - once thought to be dormant – began encroaching
on the base in 2012, advancing a mile every year.
But the new site is faced with another huge chasm, which
developed in October 2016.
Scientists from the center have been monitoring the chasm’s
development but cannot be sure whether a large iceberg will
"calve,’ splitting away from the main ice shelf.
According to the BAS, the risk of this happening is low and the
decision to pull scientists form the research station was made
as a precautionary measure.
If the ice fractured during summer months, an evacuation could
be swiftly mounted. But the forthcoming Antarctic winter
complicates things, bringing 24-hour darkness and frozen seas,
making evacuation an extremely complex process.
Scientists will return to their duties at the research center
once winter has passed.
(Reporting by Luke Bridges; editing by Stephen Addison)
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