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. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  2. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  3. Transportation

    Why Are Little Kids in Japan So Independent?

    In Japan, small children take the subway and run errands alone, no parent in sight. The reason why has more to do with social trust than self-reliance.

  4. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  5. a photo of volunteers packing meals for food-insecure individuals during an event in New York on the anniversary of 9/11.
    Life

    Why Americans Stopped Volunteering

    The terror attacks on September 11, 2001, inspired a national surge in civic spirit. But volunteering rates have been declining over the last two decades.

×