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. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. A woman walks down a city street across from a new apartment and condominium building.
    Design

    How Housing Supply Became the Most Controversial Issue in Urbanism

    New research has kicked off a war of words among urban scholars over the push for upzoning to increase cities’ housing supply.

  3. A photo of a closed street in St. Louis
    Equity

    The Curious Tale of the St. Louis Street Barriers

    Thanks to an '80s mania for traffic calming, the St. Louis grid is broken by hundreds of bollards and cul-de-sacs. Critics say it’s time to get rid of them.

  4. A photo of police officers sealing off trash bins prior to the Tokyo Marathon in Tokyo in 2015.
    Life

    Carefully, Japan Reconsiders the Trash Can

    The near-absence of public garbage bins in cities like Tokyo is both a security measure and a reflection of a cultural aversion to littering.

  5. Design

    Bringing New Life to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lost Designs

    “I would love to model all of Wright's work, but it is immense,” says architect David Romero. “I do not know if during all my life I will have time.”