National Geographic photographer and filmmaker James Balog has recently been on NPR, given a TED talk, and spoken to several news outlets about his film Chasing Ice. Last month he joined us aboard National Geographic Explorer in Antarctica, where we screened his film and he spoke with guests. And this summer, though Balog won’t be aboard, Explorer will venture to Ilulissat glacier—where his crew filmed the largest glacial calving event ever recorded.
A year ago NASA researches flying over Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier noticed a massive rift in the ice running for 18 miles across part of the glacier’s floating tongue. On a more recent flyover, they’ve recorded a second rift and noted that the original open further. When the rift finally reaches all the way across the ice, the glacier will calve and fall into the sea creating an enormous iceberg in Pine Island Bay. In the past, large icebergs have calved off Pine Island Glacier, but this will be the largest in decades and will leave the front of the glacier farther back than any other time in the recent past.