Image description: A natural arch in a glacier at Norsel Point, Anvers Island, Antarctica. The National Science Foundation funds and manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), which carries forward the nation’s goals of supporting the Antarctic Treaty, fostering cooperative research with other nations, protecting the Antarctic environment, and developing measures to ensure only equitable and wise use of resources. Learn more about the USAP program.
Photo by Glenn Grant, National Science Foundation
Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and brightest of the seven continents. It is roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined and is almost completely covered by a layer of ice that averages more than one mile in thickness, but is nearly three miles thick in places. This ice accumulated over millions of years through snowfall. Presently, the Antarctic ice sheet contains 90% of the ice on Earth and would raise sea levels worldwide by over 200 feet were it to melt.
Learn more about Antarctica from the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA), “the first-ever true-color high-resolution satellite view of the Antarctic continent enabling everyone to see Antarctica as it appears in real life.”
Image description: An composite image comparing the geographic sizes of Antarctica and the United States.