National Geographic : 1990 Apr
NO MORE By BRYAN HODG SON NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SENIOR WRITER It is larger than Europe or Australia, but it has no native human population. It contains more than two-thirds of the world's fresh water in the form of ice, yet some areas receive less than two inches of precipitation a year. Antarctica is the highest, coldest, most desolate place on the globe. But it irresistibly draws visitors. The fifth largest continent is a giant outdoor laboratory where scientists strive to decipher clues to our planet's history and detect early warning signs of global pollution. Climbing above the ice, geologist David Marchant hunts for evidence of past glacial activity (left). Off the Antarctic Peninsula, a 50-foot schooner carrying researchers appears as but a toy boat next to icebergs drifting amid sheets of pack ice (overleaf). A place of far-reaching importance, earth's last terrestrial frontier is drawing increasing international attention.