The Dry Valleys of Antarctica are located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. This area gets almost no snowfall, and except for a few steep rocks this is the only continental part of Antarctica devoid of ice. The sculpted and shadowy terrain looks like something not of this Earth; some valleys' floors occasionally contain perennially frozen lakes with ice several meters thick. And under the ice, in the dark and extremely salty water live mysterious simple organisms, a subject of on-going research.
Victoria Valley, Wright Valley and Taylor Valley.
(images credit: Kevin Humphreys and Peter West, National Science Foundation)
Lake Vanda in Wright Valley features extremely salty water underneath thick layer of incredibly clear ice. The patterns of clear ice are uniformly fascinating throughout the Dry Valleys, for example around the edge of Lake Hoare:
Mount Erebus (3,794 meters), Ross Island, is the most active volcano in Antarctica, which also contains "persistent" lava lake, one of a very few long-lived lava lakes in the world - clearly visible from space:
(right image: lenticular clouds hover over Mount Erebus volcano; US Coast Guard photo)
Steaming ice "fumaroles" (volcanic gas vents) surround the crater, in time turning into surreal ice towers:
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