Does the USGS have photographs of features in Antarctica? 

View or download USGS satellite imagery for Antarctica using the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA). The Interactive Atlas in the menu on the right is helpful for finding individual features. Higher-resolution satellite imagery is also available via  EarthExplorer  or  LandsatLook. 

The USGS does not have a comprehensive photographic collection of geographic features in Antarctica. However, some air photography is available through EarthExplorer by searching the Antarctic Single Frames category within the larger Aerial Imagery category. 

A limited number of photographs taken on the ground are in the online USGS Denver Library Photographic Collection (be sure to click the “Clear Filters” button between searches of the collection). Contact the USGS Denver Library to ask about any photographs that  were not posted online.

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How do I search for and download Landsat data?

Landsat data products held in the USGS archives can be searched and downloaded at no charge from a variety of sources. Visit the Landsat Data Access web page for information about how Landsat data products can be downloaded individually or in bulk. Landsat imagery not found in the USGS archive might have been collected by one of the USGS...

What are the acquisition schedules for the Landsat satellites?

The Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 satellites orbit the Earth at an altitude of 705 kilometers (438 miles) in a 185-kilometer (115-mile) swath, moving from north to south over the sunlit side of the Earth in a sun synchronous orbit, following the World Reference System (WRS-2) . Each satellite makes a complete orbit every 99 minutes, completes about 14...

What is the Landsat satellite program and why is it important?

The Landsat Program is a series of Earth-observing satellite missions jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. On July 23, 1972, in cooperation with NASA, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS-1) was launched. It was later renamed Landsat 1. Additional Landsat satellites followed in the 1970s and 1980s. Landsat 7 was...

Are the scanned aerial photographic images georectified?

Scans of traditional aerial photography film products (air photos) are not georectified . The USGS does, however, offer several orthoimagery (georectified aerial photograph) products: Digital Orthophoto Quadrangle (DOQ) High Resolution Orthoimagery (HRO) National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP, NAIP Plus) NAIP orthoimagery has been collected...

Do earthquakes occur in Antarctica?

Earthquakes do occur in Antarctica, but not very often. There have been some big earthquakes--including one magnitude 8 --in the Balleny Islands (between Antarctica and New Zealand). The boundary between the Scotia Plate and the Antarctic Plate just grazes the north tip of the Antarctic Peninsula (look "northwest" from the Pole toward South...

Is there a cost for aerial photograph products?

Download medium-resolution scans (400 dpi) of aerial photography products at no charge using EarthExplorer . We are working on high-resolution scans (25 micron or 1,000 dpi) that can also be downloaded at no charge. With over 8.4 million frames of imagery in our archive, scanning will take many years to complete, but about 80% of high-resolution...

How much area does an aerial photograph cover?

The area covered by an aerial photograph (air photo) depends on the scale of the imagery. Most air photos were taken on 9 x 9 inch film. The chart below reflects coverage for a variety of photographic scales. Scale 1 inch = feet 1 side (miles) Area (square miles) 1:12,000 1000 1.70 2.9 1:20,000 1667 2.84 8.1 1:24,000 2000 3.41 11.6 1:40,000 3333 5...
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Date published: December 24, 2019

A Decade from Above: Landsat Imagery from the 2010s

Another decade has come and gone.

The decade of the 2010s was a monumental one for the Landsat program, marking the first full decade of free and open data, the launch of Landsat 8, the release of Landsat Collections and Landsat Analysis Ready Data and countless Landsat-based research projects.

Date published: March 11, 2009

Landsat 7 helps track Antarctica's emperor penguins

Landsat 7 helps track Antarctica's emperor penguins

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October 28, 2019

Image of the Week - Massive Berg Adrift in Antarctica

In September of 2019, a 315 ton iceberg known as D28 broke free from the Amery Ice Shelf in Antarctica. The berg has a surface area of more than 600 square miles, roughly comparable to the size of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. It's the largest iceberg to calve from
Satellite image of ice that appears blue
February 18, 2018

Antarctica's Blue Ice

Imagery collected over Antarctica by satellites like Landsat is typically marked by highly reflective snow and ice, but isolated pockets of wind-swept glacial ice glow with a distinct blue.

Dry Valleys of Antarctica with dry. rocky soil in the foreground and snow-capped mountains and a glacier in the background
December 8, 2016

A typical landscape in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica (January 2015)

A typical landscape in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica (January 2015).

Eltanin Bay, West Antarctica_Landsat 8 OLI
March 2, 2015

Eltanin Bay, West Antarctica_Landsat 8 OLI

Landsat 8 OLI image of retreating glacial ice near Eltanin Bay, West Antarctica

Satellite image of ice breaking in Antarctica
December 27, 2001

Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA)

In stunning, up-close and personal detail, LIMA brings Antarctica to life, both for the scientific community and the general public at large.

Antarctic Single Frame
December 31, 1964

Antarctic Single Frame

This is an example of trimetrogon aerial photography of Antarctica showing horizon to horizon coverage when the left oblique, vertical, and right oblique images are placed side-by-side.