Fly through ice formations and see the seemingly-endless landscapes in context of boats and people, from the huge icebergs extending down into the deep blue water, to the snow-covered mountains, to the whales swimming together as seen from above. This is Antarctica, a stunning video that was filmed over 16 days with a GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition and DJI Phantom 2 by Kalle Ljung.

Covered in ice, Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth, the planet’s fifth largest continent, and the planet’s largest desert. From LiveScience:

Despite its thick ice, Antarctica is classified as a desert because so little moisture falls from the sky. The inner regions of the continent receive an average of 2 inches (50 millimeters) of precipitation—primarily in the form of snow—each year. More rain falls in the Sahara desert. The coastal regions receive more falling moisture, but still only average 8 inches (200 mm) annually. Unlike most desert regions, however, the moisture doesn’t soak into the ground. Instead, the snow piles on top of itself.

Although little liquid falls from the sky, Antarctica still boasts colossal blizzards. Like sandstorms in the desert, the wind picks snow up from the ground and blows vast white blankets. Winds can reach up to 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour).

Antarctica’s only plants include lichens, liverworts, a few grasses, and around 100 species of mosses. There are also over 700 species of algae. Related reading: extremophiles.

Watch more videos about Antarctica, including Antarctica’s volcanic ice caves & undersea brinicles, an animated map of the bedrock beneath Antarctica’s ice sheet, and Ice Cores – Measuring Earth’s atmosphere from 20,000 years ago.

via Kottke.

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