On June 22, 2018, scientists captured on video a huge iceberg breaking away from the Helheim Glacier in eastern Greenland. The iceberg is 4 miles (6.4 km) long. If laid across North America’s largest city – New York – it’d stretch from lower Manhattan up to Midtown. The phenomenon of an iceberg breaking off a glacier is known as calving. This calving event began on June 22 at 11:30 p.m. local time. Although the video footage was later condensed to about 90 seconds, the event took place over approximately 30 minutes.
The video shows a tabular iceberg – one that’s wide and flat – calving off and moving away from the glacier. As it does so, thin and tall icebergs calve off and flip over.
The camera angle then shifts to show movement further down the fjord, where one tabular iceberg crashes into a second, causing the first to split into two and flip over.
Knowing how and in what ways icebergs calve is important for simulations because they ultimately determine global sea-level rise. The better we understand what’s going on means we can create more accurate simulations to help predict and plan for climate change.
Global sea-level rise is both undeniable and consequential. By capturing how it unfolds, we can see, first-hand, its breath-taking significance.
Bottom line: Video of huge iceberg breaking off a Greenland glacier in June 2018.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.