One reason geologists love Antarctica: the ice-free areas are frozen in time. There are no rainstorms, roots, worms, or gophers to disturb the landscape, and no leaves, grass, or wildflowers have ever covered it. WHOI geochemist Mark Kurz (foreground) and geologist Adam Soule head back to their camp following a day of field work on Mt. Morning lava flows in Antarctica, during Expedition 3 of Polar Discovery. Their tent camp is visible on the lower right side of the photo. In the incredibly cold and dry Antarctic environment there is no running water to cause erosion. They are using the lava flows to study the rates of physical erosion (wind coupled with freezing and thawing) on the unique Antarctic landscape.
(Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)