First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Antarctica Fire Update

Most of Research Station Lost

THE BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT ADMITS that the deadly fire that swept through their Antarctica research station has destroyed about 70% of the complex.  (See the Firegeezer report from Saturday HERE.)  AFP is reporting today:

The destruction of Brazil's Antarctic base in a fire that killed two navy personnel has dealt a major blow to the country's strategic research on the resource-rich continent, experts say.

"All the central core of the base, where the installations were concentrated, was lost. The exact extent of what occurred still needs to be determined, but the assessment is that we really lost virtually everything," Defense Minister Celso Amorim said late Saturday.

Chilean Navy photo via AFP

Brazilian experts painted a grim picture of the damage after Saturday's blaze, which swept through a room housing energy generators of Brazil's Comandante Ferraz research base located in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

"It's an irreparable loss," the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo quoted Yocie Valentin, a Brazilian expert in charge of scientific work in Antarctica, as saying Sunday.

"We lost much more than equipment, we lost lives. I lost all my research and that was one of the cheapest. Some of the research lost cost millions of dollars," survivor Joao Paulo Machado Torres, a 46-year-old biophysicist, said in a telephone interview carried on the O Estado de Sao Paulo website from Punta Arenas.

"We are doing cutting-edge science in Antarctica, studies with important implications for climate in Brazil, fishing resources and biodiversity," biologist Lucia Siqueira Campos, a member of the National Committee of Antarctic Research, told the daily O Globo Sunday. The icy continent plays a crucial role in regulating climate and oceanic circulation in South America.

In addition to the loss of very expensive equipment and all the data collected since December, the fire leaves dozens of Brazilian study groups without a fixed base in the area, according to the experts.

Antarctica, which is mostly covered by snow and ice, holds under its continental shelf, huge mineral resources and the surrounding seas are full of bio-resources. In addition, the glaciers of Antarctica contain 90 percent of the world's fresh water.

Read the report on the fire Saturday from Firegeezer HERE.

There is still no word yet on the possible cause of the fire.

Bernama – Malaysian News Agency has MORE.
Bloomberg News has additional details on the activities taking place HERE.

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