Antarctic base comes out of deep freeze

From BBC - November 10, 2017

The advanced party sent in to open up Britains mothballed Antarctic base have found no damage.

Halley station was closed in March and staff withdrawn because of uncertainty over the behaviour of cracks in the Brunt Ice Shelf - the flowing, floating platform on which it sits.

The base was secured and left to the elements, with temperatures dipping down to around -50C.

But the first arrivals say Halley is none the worse for its shut-down.

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) flew a party of 12 into the baseto start switching all the utilities back on - the power and heating.

One fear was that windows might have broken in a storm and that this could have allowed snow to get inside. But that has not been the case.

Halley operations manager John Eager said: "The team was very pleased to find the station in such good shape. It's testament to how well last season's team carried out the shut-down just after we successfully re-located the modules 23km inland.

"Apart from a few carpet tiles lifting, and some crazing on inner glazing, everything is exactly as we left it.It is early days in the season, and many complex challenges remain, but it's a great start by the team on the ice."

Some further technical investigations are being carried out to assess how well all the materials and equipment faired during winter.

Halley is now being prepared for the annual southern summer influx of scientists in the coming weeks.

The Royal Research Ship Ernest Shackleton is also expected soon with supplies.

Together with the Rothera base on the Antarctic Peninsula, Halley spearheads British activity on the White Continent.

The station gathers important weather and climate data, and it played a critical role in the research that identified the ozone "hole" in 1985.


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