British Antarctic’s Research Station on tow – slowest journey ever!

British Antarctic's Research Station on tow
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British Antarctic’s Research Station on tow. A huge gap had developed threatening the vessel.

The base is sited on the floating – and moving – Brunt Ice Shelf, and had to be relocated or face being dumped in the ocean.

Tractors were used to tow the eight modules that make up the futuristic-looking Halley 23km further “inland”.

Last month, BAS announced it would “mothball” the station for the duration of the coming Antarctic winter.


The decision was made after a new crack opened in the ice shelf.  It was discovered on 31st October and is known as the “Halloween” crack.

This fissure is a long way (17km) from Halley’s new position but it has prompted some concern about the stability of the whole area.

Glaciologists want more time to assess the situation.  Safety considerations demand staff be withdrawn before deteriorating weather conditions and 24-hour darkness make access and egress extremely difficult.

The base and its staff eventually completed its destination.

Its new location appears safe for the time being but scientists will be monitoring its new post carefully each day.

Video BBC science and environment

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