Antarctica: All That Ice! (Part Two)
As mentioned in the blog post titled “Antarctic Ice (Part One),” 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.
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!
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!