May 042018

As mentioned in the previous blog post, ice is the most prominent feature in Antarctica. No surprise, considering that the continent is covered with it. Add to that the ice shelves and sea ice that greatly enlarge its area in winter.

Under the ice are vast mountain ranges and sprawling plains, crushed to elevations measurably depressed by all that massive weight on top.

This was a huge iceberg!

Scientists report that if all the ice in Antarctica melted, it would raise sea levels by about 200 feet. It’s pretty cool to see on this photo from NASA how the continental US would look superimposed on the “white continent.”

Closer up, ice offers an unending array of otherworldly and beautiful vistas. Here are some more images from my January/February 2018 visit to the Antarctic Peninsula.

The suggestion was made after the previous blog post to mention how incredibly hard old glacial ice is. It’s an excellent point. I tried to bite some crystal clear glacial ice in Alaska once and was unable to make a dent. The effort nearly broke my teeth!

Notice the seal tracks!

My reader went on to comment that the density of glacial ice is, “part of the reason the Titanic came away so badly damaged, and why the [National Geographic] Explorer [our ship] pushes relatively blithely through sea ice, but is very, very respectful of even small pieces of glacial ice. Whether the pitcher hits the stone, or the stone hits the pitcher, it is still going to be bad for the pitcher. Ditto ships and glacial ice, I believe.” And he’s right!

Home Away From Home

  3 Responses to “Antarctic Ice (Part Two)”

  1. I love your pictures, Kate. The other thing I learned about icebergs on that trip was how they are always trying to find equilibrium for the 20% of mass above the water’s surface and 80% below. With the sun and wind working on the top side and the ocean working on the bottom side, the berg constantly shifts and cracks trying to find a new way to sit in the water as parts of it melt away. And thus! the beautiful water lines that are constantly adjusted to new above water, tilted or totally overturned lines. You have some beautiful examples of that in these pictures.

  2. Nice education Kate!

  3. Ooooohhhhh….ahhhhhhh. Love those photos. Countdown to our Antarctic trip is ticking away! Yay!

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