National Geographic : 1990 Apr
A gossamer curtain called the aurora australis, or southern lights, hangs above the British Antarctic Survey's Halley Station (above). Measurements here first revealed a "hole" in the atmosphere's ozone layer, which shields the earth from harmful frequencies of solar radiation. Off the Antarctic Peninsula, unusual weathering of this rock resulted in a green web of copper tracings. The diversity and extent of Antarctica's mineral wealth remains largely undetermined, although extensive coal deposits are known to exist. But daunting logistical problems make exploration and mining, already controversial, commercially unfeasible.