Antarctic Research Station Is Now Forced To Relocate; Expanding Ice Shelf Is Seen By The Scientists

First Posted: Dec 12, 2016 05:26 AM EST

Engineers at the BAS are now forced to relocate. They have seen a path of crack getting bigger across the ice shelf where they are currently located at.

The engineers are now preparing to move the Antarctic research station because it is at the perimeter in the projected crack expanding across the ice shelf. The British Antarctic Station or the BAS base was developed like a "railway train on skis." Though it was built to be moved easily, the scientists did not expect to relocate it very soon.

In 2012, the brand new "Halley VI" center was also towed to its current coordinates. Thus, a chasm that had been latent for at least 35 years began to unlatch once again 4.3 miles away. The BAS director of science, David Vaughan, suggested that the satellite imagery found that the rift could possibly isolate the center away from the mainland.

Vaughn said that "The chasm if it continues to grow, will eventually produce an iceberg. If we left the station where it is at the moment it would be on that iceberg," according to the New Scientist.

David Vaughan explained that for safety purposes, the organization thinks that towing the center over 14 miles inland across the ice would be much safer. Hence, the center was designed to make the relocation accessible.

David Vaughn added that "It is made up of separate modules, carriages if you like, each of which is sitting on four skis, it gives us the opportunity to separate each of the modules and tow them separately. Using caterpillar tractors, to a new location, and then fit the whole station back together again."

The station is currently located at the Antarctica's 150-meter-thick Brunt Ice Shelf. It is a floating sheet which continually flows at a rate of a quarter of a mile per year toward the sea. So, at the irregular interval, it "calves" off as icebergs.

As follows, a glaciologist from BAS, Hilmar Gudmundsson, said that "All ice shelves do this. It's a natural event, But it's difficult to say exactly when and how large these events will be. It's a bit like trying to predict an earthquake."

In addition, according to The Independent, he said that "It is not known if the growth of the crack is related to global warming or how it will develop, she said. We don't know what will happen. It might stop growing, but we can't exclude the possibility of a big calving event."

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