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  • Station or cluster: CryoNet Cluster
  • Type: Basic
  • WMO ID (if any):
  • Shape: polygon
  • Latitude, longitude: -75.5, -26.4
  • Altitude and/or range (m): 30; 25-35
  • Landscape: Iceshelf
  • Year established: 2000
  • Year-round? Yes
  • Operations contact: Steven Colwell
  • Science contact: Steven Colwell
  • Data contact: Steven Colwell
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Brunt Ice Shelf [Candidate]
Basic CryoNet Cluster Information

This research project uses a range of different technologies to monitor glaciological change on the Brunt Ice Shelf – the location of Halley VI Research Station. In 2012 satellite monitoring of this ice shelf revealed the first signs of movement in a chasm that had lain dormant for at least 35 years. Glaciologists classify very large cracks in the ice shelf which clearly go all the way through to the sea as “chasms”, and narrow cracks that go an indeterminate depth as crevasses or cracks.

In 2015/16 field season glaciologists used ice penetrating radar technologies to ‘ground truth’ satellite images to calculate the most likely path and speed of chasms and cracks in the ice. In October 2016 a crack emerged some 17km to the north of the research station across the route sometimes used to resupply Halley.

The Brunt Ice Shelf is the floating extension of the grounded ice sheet. It is composed of freshwater ice that originally fell as snow, either in situ or inland and brought to the ice shelf by glaciers. Cracks appear continuously on ice shelves as the ice deforms. Frequently, cracks that form during the summer months heal again over winter. At Halley a long-term ice-monitoring project, that uses satellite and radar data, detected new growth in a chasm that has been dormant for around 30 years.

Observations reveal that a particular feature – Chasm A – has been growing continuously since 2012. Observations revealed that the crack tip is moving gradually upstream of the research station. The research station has been relocated to avoid this chasm.

Stations in This Site

This site is comprised of the following stations:

Broad Research Focus

This research project uses a range of different technologies to monitor glaciological change on the Brunt Ice Shelf – the location of Halley VI Research Station.

Cluster Facilities

A research station that is currently summer only and the network of GPS stations.

Other Networks to Which This CryoNet Cluster Belongs

Data Information




The measurements made at Brunt Ice Shelf are listed in the following tables. This is a combination of measurements made at the stations within the site, where the start and end years in the tables are the earliest and latest years of measurement. (Note: If End Year is blank, measurements are ongoing.)

Cryosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
SnowSnowpack profile2000

Atmosphere Measurements

Element Variable Start Year End Year
MetAir temperature1957
MetHumidity/vapour pressure1957
MetWind speed and direction1957
MetAir pressure1957
MetTotal precipitation2012
MetTrace gases2000
RadiationDownwelling shortwave1989
RadiationUpwelling shortwave2012
RadiationDownwelling longwave2012
RadiationUpwelling longwave2012
RadiationSunshine duration1957

Last updated: 13 May 2019