When filmmakers, Adam LeWinter and Jeff Orlowski woke up in Greenland in 2008, they likely had no clue what awaited them. On what that momentous day, they filmed a world-record glacier “calving” in the ocean off the coast of Greenland.

Why does a glacier calve?

Inverse author, Eleanor Cummins, explained glacial calving after the recent massive event in Antarctica last year:

(Last year) …a trillion-ton iceberg calved from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica and the third largest iceberg ever recorded was born.

Calving, the formal name for the birth of an iceberg, is a fairly common process typically stimulated by warming waters. The heat creates melty spots within the ice sheet that weaken the ice and allow it to split apart. When an iceberg calves, as it just did in Antarctica, it leaves in its wake an original glacier and a new “baby” iceberg. (Though, at a trillion metric tonnes, this new iceberg is far from baby-sized.)

But the visual impact of LeWinter and Orlowski’s film is an unparalleled window into the sheer force of glacial ice. The area they captured on film was the size of lower Manhattan.

The glacier can be seen heaving ice hundreds of feet into the air

The filmmakers set up their cameras for their documentary, Chasing Ice. Shortly afterward, they got their money’s worth and then some.

Earth Sky describes the scale of the event captured in the video:

This video – posted to YouTube on December 14, 2012 – captures an historic calving event from the Ilulissat Glacier, also known as the Jakobshavn Glacier, in western Greenland in 2008. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes, during which time the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles (five kilometers) wide.

There is some spicy language around 40 seconds into the video as the men are left slack-jawed by the spectacle unfolding before their eyes.

YouTube: Exposure Labs

Featured Image: YouTube Screen Capture – Exposure Labs