NASA satellites are pretty nifty, in large part because they capture world events that we might not know about otherwise. That’s what happened recently, when NASA’s Landsat 8 recorded the image above on August 16 of Greenland’s Jakobshavn glacier, which is one of the world’s largest and fastest melting, which. When researchers compared recent images to images captured two weeks ago, they discovered that the glacier just lost an enormous chunk of ice. So big, in fact, that it may be the largest chunk of ice loss ever recorded.

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The image above shows the same vantage point of the glacier from just two weeks prior. Dated July 31, 2015, the image shows the calving front with a slightly different position. Because we’re looking at satellite images, the difference may appear subtle, but researchers assure it is not. “The calving events of Jakobshavn are becoming more spectacular with time, and I am in awe with the calving speed and retreat rate of this glacier,” said Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “These images are a very good example of the changes taking place in Greenland.”

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The glacier lost kilometers of ice from its face in 2014. This new development not only means that the glacier is disappearing faster than ever, but that this may have been the largest chunk of ice ever recorded to cleave from any glacier on earth. The rapid ice loss is caused by global warming, largely as a result of human activity. The enormous ice chunk is believed to have broken off between August 14 and August 16, based on additional satellite images posted on the Arctic sea ice blog.

Scientists continue to monitor activity at Jakobshavn closely. Because of its size and its proximity to the Greenland Ice Sheet, researchers say the melting of this glacier could contribute more to global sea level rise than any other individual body of ice in the Northern Hemisphere.

Via Washington Post

Images via NASA Earth Observatory