Unless one has the good fortune, like Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski, to witness and record a massive, lower-Manhattan-sized glacier calving in real-time (video below).
Ice calving is the sudden cleaving of a mass of ice.
The video shows the calving of the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland during 2008. For 75 minutes, the glacier retreated a full mile along a calving face estimated at 3 miles in length.
Scientists have recorded the steady retreat of the Jakobshavn Glacier since 1851 (NASA satellite image below).
|Retreating calving front of the Jacobshavn Glacier (1851 - 2006)|
"A man who keeps company with glaciers comes to feel tolerably insignificant by and by. The Alps and the glaciers together are able to take every bit of conceit out of a man and reduce his self-importance to zero if he will only remain within the influence of their sublime presence long enough to give it a fair and reasonable chance to do its work."
— Mark Twain, from A Tramp Abroad, p. 466.
Geologists have divided the 4.54 billion year history of the Earth into a hierarchy of supereon, eon, era, period, epoch, and age. Calving of the Jakobshavn Glacier has been recorded in modern history since 1851 The 2008 calving occurred in a matter of minutes.
- Largest glacier calving ever caught on film, EarthSky. Feb 5, 2013.
- Jakobshavn Glacier, Wikipedia.
- Chasing Ice.
- Geologic Time - Earth's History - University of Oklahoma Earth System Science Education.
- A Tramp Abroad. Mark Twain, 1880.