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Ice berg size of NYC breaks off in Antarctica near British outpost

Ice berg size of NYC breaks off in Antarctica near British outpost
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An iceberg the size of New York City broke off from an ice shelf in Antarctica on Friday, about 10 years after scientists started tracking the cracks in the ice.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) released a statement on Friday describing the break of the 490-square-mile iceberg from the Brunt Ice Shelf, a location that is not far away from a British research outpost. 

“Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years,” Dame Jane Francis, Director of British Antarctic Survey, said. 

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Researchers knew the iceberg would break off soon as a new crack in the ice emerged in November and increased in size each day. 

The 12-person team left BAS’s Halley Research Station earlier this month before winter hit. The team has not stayed at the station over the winter since 2017 in case the iceberg broke off because an emergency evacuation would be difficult due to Antarctica's lack of daylight during the winter.

The research station was safe from the break-off since it was moved inland in 2016. 

“Our job now is to keep a close eye on the situation and assess any potential impact of the present calving on the remaining ice shelf,” Simon Garrod, Director of Operations at BAS, said. “We continuously review our contingency plans to ensure the safety of our staff, protect our research station, and maintain the delivery of the science we undertake at Halley.”

The announcement also made clear that this event was not a result of climate change. 

“Change in the ice at Halley is a natural process and there is no connection to the calving events seen on Larsen C Ice Shelf, and no evidence that climate change has played a significant role,” the announcement said.