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View images in a collection of Photo Galleries.
Watch video of penguins at play.


Read Dan Grossman's journal about his trip to meet the Adelie Penguins of Antarctica.
  • Photos from voyage out to see the penguins
  • Photos of the Gentoo colony of penguins
  • Meet a scientist who is studying the Giant Petrel of Antarctica.
In the Teacher Guide section, look for these related projects:

This handful of bits is from a petrel bolus, the ball of undigestible material some bird regurgitate. What did this bird eat ?

What is this penguin standing on?

What polished this stone?

Why is this penguin lying down?

Why are all those bones in this elephant seal skull?

Can you identify this fossil? Click here to get a closer look.

Take an interactive tour of Palmer Station.

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See how far the Marr Ice Piedmont has shrunk in the last 30 years.

Palmer Station Safe Boating Map Locations of Landing Sites and Emergency Caches


  • The only land mammals on Antarctica are humans. There are sea mammals: whales, seals, and dolphins. There are few insects and no reptiles on the continent.

  • The international dialing code for Antarctica is 672 (aprox. 12 cents a minute to Scott Base)

  • The Internet domain for Antarctican websites is .aq.

  • No pets allowed. As part of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty , no non-indigenous species (besides humans) are allowed on the continent.

  • The last dog teams on Antarctica were removed in 1992 from Mawson Station. They had been used for decades as a form of transport for exploring the continent. The last dogs were brought to Minnesota, where they could live in the cold conditions they were used to. Several ended up in Massachusetts.

  • Each year, scientists and workers at McMurdo Station celebrate New Year's with a music and rock concert and chili cook-off they call Icestock. Click here to check out the tunes.

  • It's not just scientists down there. Each year, the National Science Foundation also sends painters, writers, and photographers to visit, and promote understanding of the continent. About 15,000 tourists also visit each year.

  • If it weren't for a devoted environmental campaign, Antarctica might already have companies excavating and mining minerals and oil. In 1988, the Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (CRAMRA) was negotiated to allow and regulate mining. All countries party to the Antarctic Treaty would need to sign the treaty for it to go into effect. After an intense environmental campaign, Australia and France refused to sign and they were later joined by other nations. Two years later, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty was agreed on, which bans mining on Antarctica for at least 50 years.

  • Almost a hundred years ago, there was a booming whaling industry at Deception Island off the Antarctic Penninsula. At that time, households and industry relied on whale oil to burn in lamps and use for industrial lubrication, as well as in soap, paint, and varnish. The seas around Antarctica were exploited for their whales, valued for the blubber that kept them warm in this extreme climate.

  • Antarctica was discovered in the 1820s, but until 1840, no one ventured far enough to determine whether it was a continent or just a group of islands.


  • In area, Antarctica is almost one and a half the size of the United States.

  • Millions of years ago, Antarctica, Africa, Arabia, India, Australia, New Zealand, and South America were together as part of a massive continent, Gondwanaland. Gradually over millions of years, they broke apart and drifted, as they continue to drift today.

  • Before it froze, Antarctica was home to jungles dinosaurs, and mammals. The first Antartican mammal fossil, a marsupial, was discovered in 1982, and the first dinosaur fossil was found in 1986.


  • Ice is the defining feature of Antarctica. Most of the continent is covered by a polar cap more than a mile thick. Antarctica's ice accounts for about 70 percent of the world's fresh water. In the winter, much of the South Sea freezes, effectively doubling the size of the continent.

  • If it's true that Eskimoes have a hundred words for snow, it's definitely true that explorers and scientists have as many words for ice in Antarctica. Here are a few:

  • Anchor ice is ice that forms at the bottom of coastal areas in Antarctica, instead of floating at the top of the water. Anchor ice forms when colder water flows into shallow coastal areas. Ice is less dense than water and will float, but this ice is actually anchored to the rocks and creatures it forms around.

  • Bergy Bits form as icebergs melt and start to disintegrate, as little parts fall of them fall off. They are generally 3- 16 feet long and are, in effect, little icebergs.

  • Brash Ice is ice that has broken into small fragments floating in the ocean, mostly broken down pieces of larger ice. Pieces are no bigger than six feet across.

  • Fast Ice is in fact not fast at all, it's fastened to the land, and extends out into the sea.

  • Pack ice is a general term for different kinds of ice that drift close by, -- differentiated from fast ice, which is attached to land.

  • Frazil Ice is fragile, fine spines or plates of ice that form as sea water first begins to freeze.

  • Grease Ice is the stage that occurs as frazil ice continues to freeze in sea water, forming a slurry of ice with a flat matte appearance.

  • Hummocked Ice is formed when ice is piled haphazardly into a chaotic pile, often deposited by waves.

  • Icefalls are waterfalls of ice. The sheer side of the glacier can be very fragile, and parts may break off and come tumbling down.

  • Nilas is a crust of ice in the sea that is flexible and may undulate with the waves.


  • Scientists see the 5.4 million square miles of barren ice and rock as an ideal place to study the universe. With the harshest, most extreme conditions on Earth, scientists can study the hardiest of life forms on this planet. The microbes here survive where nothing else lives, and they give scientists an idea of what might be able to survive on less hospitable planets.

  • More meteorites have been discovered in Antarctica than everywhere else on earth combined, in part because they are easy to spot-- almost any rock found on the surface of the ice shelf has come from space.

  • The Northern Lights are a well-known phenomenon, but there are also Southern Lights, the Aurora Australis, which occur when electrically charged sub-atomic particles colllide with the atmosphere.