South Shetland Islands
SUMMIT COUNTY — The vast bulk of Antarctica is ice-covered, in some places with glaciers several miles deep. But moving north, away from the center of the continent, some of the sub-Antarctic Islands like the South Shetland chain are surprisingly green. Just don’t expect any grass. The only chlorophyll-producing plants are primitive mosses growing on the fringe of what the plant kingdom can tolerate. In many cases, these little oases are just a few miles away from thick sheets of ice, tempered by the slightly warmer sea water surrounding the islands. It’s a spectacular world of biodiversity, just as interesting as the ice covered heart of the frozen continent.