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Antarctica pictorial 05 iceberg
An iceberg broken free and visible while on a short day trip about the icebreaker. Penguins can frequently be found seeking shelter on these small bergs.

Antarctica Photo Pictorial

Editor’s Note: These photographs may look old-fashioned now, but when we first started posting photos most images were scanned in from film negatives, and the resolution on the internet was very poor. Images needed to be only a few kilobytes so that you could download them with a phone modem; now they are thousands of times bigger. Recently we found the original high-res images. Click on them to see the full size.  Learn more about our original film photographs and see the side-by-side difference.

A photo pictorial by our antarctic explorer, Vilmar. Read more about Vilmar’s adventure.

Antarctica pictorial 01 cutaway of Antarctica
A cutaway view of Antarctica showing the ice cover over the landmass. In many places, ice is over 2 miles thick and places so much weight and pressure on the land that elevations drop over 600 feet.
Antarctica continent
Antarctica continent as recently mapped by the Canadian satellite Radarsat. It is the first high-resolution radar map of Antarctica. Scientists were most surprised to see a complex pattern of ice streams draining into the ocean. Courtesy of NASA.
Antarctica mountains
Antarctica is not flat.
Antarctic landscape
An alien-looking Antarctic landscape
Antarctica McMurdo Station sunset
McMurdo Station sunset
Antarctica pictorial 02 Erebus venting
On a still day, Mt Erebus’ volcanic plume rises many hundreds of feet above its crater. Although it is always venting, the risk of eruption is low and poses little risk to the people working on Ross Island, home of McMurdo Station (U.S.) and Scott Base (N.Z.)
Antarctica ventrifacts
The wind blows hard creating a type of rock called a ventifact or wind-faceted stone. [Editor’s note: Sorry, the original high-res picture has been lost.]
Antarctica ice cliffs
Dramatic ice cliffs.
Antarctica ice cliff
Ice cliff
Antarctica pictorial 04 glacier face
This is the face of the Barne Glacier, southwest of Mt. Erebus’ base. The glacier is over 70 feet high and this photo captures only the top 15-20 feet. The face is accessible to those headed towards Cape Evans and Cape Royds.
Antarctica pictorial 06 pressure ridges
These are pressure ridges formed by tidal action and upswelling of one ice sheet against another. Seals frequently use the breaks formed by the crashing together of these ice sheets to gnaw through the weaker and thinner areas. This provides them with a breathing hole. Plus, once on top of the ice, it’s a nice resting place for mating, feeding, or fighting.
Antarctica pictorial 07 scenic shot of iceberg
An iceberg trapped in the sea ice in McMurdo Sound near Big Razorback Island. These bergs often stay trapped from March until February the following year when (and if) the ice flows northwards.
Antarctica pictorial 08 seal at icehenge
A seal resting on the ice and framed by an Antarctic rendition of Stonehenge called “Icehenge.”
Antarctica icehenge
Antarctica “icehenge.”
Antarctica pictorial 09 tools with Erebus
Tools used in the construction of ice shelters and for personal safety when personnel are required to live in the field or are walking on icy slopes.
Antarctica pictorial 10 view thru iceberg
View of one of the islands through a crack in a trapped iceberg.
Antarctica fish that dont freeze
In Antarctica the fish that don’t freeze.
Antarctica fish research
Antarctica fish research. Fish that don’t freeze.
Antarctica Adélie penguins
Antarctica Adélie penguins
Antarctica penguin rookery
A penguin rookery.
Antarctica dinosaur fossils
Antarctica dinosaur fossils
Antarctica bus stuck in the ice and mud
Bus stuck in the ice and mud. It’s near impossible to build paved roads in Antarctica.
Antarctica crabeater seal at hole
A crabeater seal saying hello.
Boeing C 17 Globemaster
Boeing C-17 Globemaster bringing in new supplies.
Antarctica pictorial 03 ice flows in the wake
Sheets of ice left in the wake of the icebreaker Polar Star that makes annual visits to McMurdo Station to cut a path through the Ross Sea ice sheet. The channel allows the arrival of a refueling ship, a re-supply ship, a Coast Guard research vessel and several tourist ships.
Antarctica greenhouse
Antarctica greenhouse. Lettuce anyone.


Most of these photos were taken by Vilmar. However, some he got from the public domain server accessible to McMurdo station personnel.  To the best of our knowledge, they are put on a public domain directory for everyone on the station to use, and folks copy them off to send back home or to news sources. No copyrights are being violated. If you happen to be the photographer, please contact us and we will attribute the photos to you, or we will happily remove the images. 

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Vilmar's adventure in Antarctica is one of our first real-time adventures. Well, as real-time as it could get in the year 2000. Vilmar sent us regular updates from the road and we would relay his message to the world.
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