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Mountain of Ice

Program Overview


NOVA follows a group of explorers and scientists as they scale Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest peak, collecting snowfall data along the way to help determine Antarctic ice flow.

The program:

  • interweaves historic footage of Robert Scott's and Roald Amundsen's race to the South Pole with modern-day footage of a climb up Vinson Massif.

  • shows an international community of scientists and adventurers at a camp in Antarctica and the harsh conditions in which they work.

  • depicts the method used to take snowfall samples and discusses how the samples are used to help understand continental ice flow.

  • explains how Antarctica's mountains serve as a natural dam to block ice, an effect that helps make Antarctica the highest continent on Earth.

  • describes how a history of snowfall is preserved in layers of ice.

  • portrays the Antarctic ice sheet as being in a state of equilibrium, in which the amount of snowfall equals the amount of ice that breaks off and falls into the sea.

  • discusses how Antarctic ice flow might affect global climate change and sea level rise.

Teacher's Guide
Mountain of Ice
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