Reuters

It's not just snow down there, at the bottom of the world.

What do you think of when you hear Antarctica? Snow, ice. Glaciers. The South Pole. Maybe penguins.

We think of it, in other words, less as a real place and more as a collection of attributes.

In fact, it is vast, larger than Europe, with landmarks of rock and ice. It holds islands named after Sputnik, jutting ridges named after wallabies, and a place called The Office Girls

The video above, shot by helicopter near the Mario Zucchelli Research Station, helps make sense of what the land mass is like—how the big white thing at the bottom of the Earth holds peaks, valleys, and an entire invisible geography. There are whole mountains down there! It’s a landscape that will become more familiar to us over the next century, both because of the continent’s massive reservoirs of fresh water and because it will simply be easier to reach, in a world warmed and technologically-enabled. 

So it’s a continent that we’d do well to get to know in advance—even if that means running naked over it.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Maggie Gyllenhaal walks the mean streets of 1971 New York City in HBO's "The Deuce," created by David Simon.
    Life

    David Simon Does Not Miss the Sleaziness

    The creator of HBO’s “The Deuce” talks about the rebirth of Times Square, other cities he loves, and why bureaucrats can be TV heroes, too.

  2. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  3. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  4. Transportation

    If You Drive Less Than 10,000 Miles a Year, You Probably Shouldn't Own a Car

    Up to one-quarter of all U.S. drivers might be better off using ride-sharing services instead.

  5. Maps

    Mapping Where Europe's Population Is Moving, Aging, and Finding Work

    Younger people are fleeing rural areas, migrating northward, and having fewer children. Here’s how that’s changing the region.