The Halley VI Antarctic Research Station, recently voted People’s Champion Project at the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA), is shutting over winter after cracks deepened on its ice shelf.
A new crack, known as the Halloween crack, which appeared last October, has continued to rip eastwards. As the research station sits on the floating 150m-thick ice shelf the BAS has decided to shut the station over the 2018 Antarctic winter.
Glaciologists working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) previously discovered that a chasm in the Brunt Ice Shelf which had been dormant for 35 years has got worse. In March the Halley VI station was relocated 23km upstream of the previously dormant ice crack.
Due to the 24-hour darkness and frozen seas, access to the station by ship or plane in an emergency would be extremely difficult.
“What we are witnessing is the power and unpredictability of nature,” said BAS director Jane Francis.
“The safety of our staff is our priority in these circumstances. Our Antarctic summer research operation will continue as planned, and we are confident of mounting a fast uplift of personnel should fracturing of the ice shelf occur.”
It is the second time Halley VI has been shut down over winter after the Halloween crack closed the station from March to November this year.
Earlier this month Halley VI beat competition including High Speed 1 and the Shard to be crowned the top project of the last 30 years at the BCIA awards.