Antarctica is under stress: The frigid continent contains more than 90 percent of the world’s natural ice, but decades of human industrialization and interference may spell disaster for both Antarctica’s landscape and the world.

Indeed, a new study suggests that an Antarctic ice sheet bigger than Mexico could disintegrate within mere decades — and raise sea levels by 12 feet or more. And changes like those show no signs of slowing down.

These Antarctica facts and pictures below reveal the southernmost continent’s chilly beauty — as well as the havoc the continent may wreak on the world if it continues to melt:

Antarctica Facts Pictures
Breaking Waves
Mt Murphy
Sea Landscape
The 25 Most Mesmerizing Photos of Antarctica
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Enjoy these Antarctica facts and pictures? Next, check out these animal signs that the planet is sick, and how parts of the world are gearing up for climate change.

Erin Kelly
Erin Kelly is a freelance writer, artist and video editor that splits her time between the humid Midwest and the dusty corners of her mind.
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