Otherworldly Antarctica

Ice, Rock, and Wind at the Polar Extreme

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Pub Date 29 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 01 Apr 2024

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Description

With stunning original photographs, an Antarctic scientist and explorer takes us to one of the most sublime, remote, and pristine regions on the planet.
 
The interior of Antarctica is an utterly pristine wilderness, a desolate landscape of ice, wind, and rock; a landscape so unfamiliar as to seem of another world. This place has been known to only a handful of early explorers and the few scientists fortunate enough to have worked there. Edmund Stump is one of the lucky few. Having climbed, photographed, and studied more of the continent-spanning Transantarctic Mountains than any other person on Earth, this geologist, writer, and photographer is uniquely suited to share these alien sights.

With stories of Stump’s forty years of journeys and science, Otherworldly Antarctica contains 130 original color photographs, complemented by watercolors and sketches by artist Marlene Hill Donnelly. Over three chapters—on the ice, the rock, and the wind—we meet snowy paths first followed during Antarctica’s Heroic Age, climb the central spire of the Organ Pipe Peaks, peer into the crater of the volcanic Mount Erebus, and traverse Liv Glacier on snowmobile, while avoiding fatal falls into the blue interiors of hidden crevasses. Along the way, we see the beauty of granite, marble, and ice-cored moraines, meltwater ponds, lenticular clouds, icebergs, and glaciers. Many of Stump’s breathtaking images are aerial shots taken from the planes and helicopters that brought him to the interior. More were shot from vantages gained by climbing the mountains he studied. Some were taken from the summits of peaks. Many are of places no one had set foot before—or has since. All seem both permanent and precarious, connecting this otherworld to our fragile own.
With stunning original photographs, an Antarctic scientist and explorer takes us to one of the most sublime, remote, and pristine regions on the planet.
 
The interior of Antarctica is an utterly...

Advance Praise

Otherworldly Antarctica is a mesmerizing snapshot into the isolated and extreme world of the seventh continent told through stunning imagery and firsthand insight.” -- Sian Proctor, geoscientist, artist, and astronaut, mission pilot for SpaceX Inspiration4 and author of "Space2inspire: The Art of Inspiration"

“In a world on fire, the frozen beauty of Stump’s photography is an inspiration as well as a comfort.” -- Russ Feingold, former US Senator

Otherworldly Antarctica is a mesmerizing snapshot into the isolated and extreme world of the seventh continent told through stunning imagery and firsthand insight.” -- Sian Proctor, geoscientist...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780226829906
PRICE $28.00 (USD)
PAGES 168

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Average rating from 11 members


Featured Reviews

After a fascinating introduction, we journey through The Ice, The Rock, and The Wind in this beautiful homage to the coldest place on earth. First, we are enticed with the jaw-dropping beauty of the ice and the glaciers of the continent, accompanied by scientific and historical information. Then we are regaled with breathtaking photos of different rock formations through the continent. The beauty of this wild landscape is haunting, mesmerizing, and awesome, in the grandest sense of the word. With many exclusive photos only available here, this is a gorgeous tome you will come back to again and again!

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this advanced review copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review on the book!

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This book is a geologist's dream! Antarctica, as never seen in such detail before. The photography and adjoining descriptions both contribute to this book's coffee table charm. The ice sculptures, glaciers, mountain ranges, and ice caves bring alive the wonder of the frozen world, in a seldom-seen closeup and personal dialogue with the author as he relates this environment to the audience. I would recommend this book to our collection.

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I'm much older, but I still love picture books. I'm not sure what that says about me, but can you blame me when the pictures look as good as Edmund Stump's Otherworldly Antarctica? Take a look and I'll bet you would cut me some slack.

Stump made a book of pictures he took over 40 years of visiting the very cold continent at the bottom of the world. I knew I would like Stump's energy when he states in the preface how "psyched" he was to visit Antarctica. His writing is minimal for the most part and while there are some great stories such as climbing with his brother, the stars of the book are of course the photos.

I should point out that I am a sucker for anything Antarctica and it is number 1 on my "places to visit but probably won't because life isn't fair." However, not only do the photos range from grand to amazingly intimate (as in close up, don't be weird), the fact that some were taken decades ago add a bit of a retro vibe. Get this book and put it on the coffee table so people know how cool you are.

(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and University of Chicago Press.)

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I took geology in college because I really love rocks, but you will love this book even if you don't love rocks. I don't think there is a single picture not worthy of being a poster, and going through the pages really made me want to visit Antarctica myself.
If you do love rocks, there is a lot of information about the geography and geology of the area. I feel really ignorant because I always think of Antarctica as a big area that looks the same everywhere, but Stump points out some different locations, such as mountains and dry places, that show that the area is just as physically diverse as anywhere else. I learned some of the science too, and I would highly recommend this for people from middle school to adult if you want to learn more about this kind of science.
Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this

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Wonderful photography collected over a 40-year timespan is definitely the heart and center of this lovely book, but it goes way past pretty pictures and packs a lot of very interesting information about geology of this frozen continent, the nature shaped by ice and winds. The world of white, blue and black and the stark absence of green. (And there’s not a single penguin photo here; it’s the gorgeous inorganic world here).

Edmund Stump started his geology career by mapping a 300-mile stretch of the Transantarctic Mountains in the 1970s. He began with the study of the rocks and eventually became fascinated by the ice as well, and forty years later he was still studying the amazing continent.

“Each passing day as I studied the rocks, I became more aware of the ice, its pervasiveness, its innumerable forms, its grand scale, its incredible detail: the knobby textures of ablation-pitted glacier ice, the ubiquitous sastrugi or wind-carved patterns in snow, bubbles and cracks in meltwater ponds, the swirls in ice-cored moraines, windswept drifts hung on ridgelines, shattered seracs in surging icefalls, orderly crevasse fields and chaos, foreshortened distance on rising surfaces of snow, and the vast ice shelf as flat as the sea upon which it floats. Although my business in Antarctica was the study of rocks, it was the all-pervasive ice that took hold on me.”

The photos are stunning, and I was quite thankful for the footnotes under quite a few them reminding of the sense of scale — that the couple inches of glacial whiteness represent four or ten or forty miles, and that the tiny ridges in another photo of blinding ice each are actually 30 feet in height. In the expanse of majestic whiteness it’s easy to get disoriented and lose the sense of scale and perspective, and these reminders are strangely grounding.

“The nothingness of Antarctica abounds on the fields of white—the great, windswept plains of the ice sheets and the undulating névés that rise into the mountains and blanket their slopes. With nothing in the landscape for scale, no trees, no roads, no buildings, distance is foreshortened. Is that mountain two miles away or twenty? The ever-circling sun gazes down casting ever-changing shadows.”

The book reminded me of something that I always forget — the glaciers flow, like rivers almost, except - of course - with a glacial speed (hehe), on timescales not quite compatible with about brief and puny human existence. But ice is not a river, and disruptions in flow create crevasses which may seems bottomless, but as Stump reassures us, can only go down to the depth of 150 feet (probably little comfort to the unfortunate one who falls into this non-bottomless crevasse). But bottomless or not, his story of crossing the Liv glacier among “a maze of crevasses” really made me terrified for him in retrospect.

“I imagined myself seventy feet down in a crevasse, wedged so tightly in the narrowing walls that I couldn’t move and barely breathe, feeling the ice rapidly draining the heat from my body.”

The photos are full of surreal beauty of icebergs (there are a few photos of one particular iceberg that are just unreal and indeed otherworldly), glacier tongues and even small frozen puddles. Stump definitely has a good eye for the views and angles that are stunning.

But then, of course, Antarctica is not all ice and glaciers. There are mountain ridges - amazing and daunting giant rocks in the ice, sheer granite walls, the marble Tusk, Mount Erebus active volcano, Transantarctic Mountains with ice-cored moraines — again, beautiful stark landscapes.

And then there’s an unexpected final section - The Wind. Katabatic winds, created by colder glacier-chilled denser air currents moving under the layer of warmer air under the influence of gravity and creating polynyas, beautiful ice-laden lenticular clouds, blowing snow, and of course sastrugi.

“If I had one hour more to savor Antarctica, it would be on a névé—a snowfield, circled at a distance by low mountains, snow gracefully rising to narrow ridgelines. A light breeze would nip my nose to remind me of where I was. The midnight sun would be low in the southern sky, casting long shadows and a faint alpine glow. And I would be standing in the midst of a field of the most exquisite sastrugi—wind-carved snow—as far as the eye could see.”

I loved every page and every photo of this book. 5 stars.
——————

Thanks to NetGalley and University of Chicago Press for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I was only able to skim this photographic marvel, which is also packed with a fascinating narrative.
I wish I had time to read it all.
Anyone who wants to learn more about the least traveled and most mysterious, inhospitable continent should buy this!
The photo spreads are stunning.
There's plenty of information packed like a glacier.

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What a fitting title this is. The alien landscape of this continent is awe inspiring. The images were magnificent! The author took some gorgeous photos. I would give my eye teeth to see his entire collection.

The author is a geologist. He traveled to Antarctica over the course of decades to research the Transantarctic Mountains. The respect, appreciation and admiration he feels for this region is very evident.

He would explain the science aspect of the different features in layman's terms. He mentioned in the beginning of the book that he wrote this for everyone to read and understand; it wasn't written for the scientific community. He succeeded admirably! I have zero interest in geology but he kept things simple and easy to understand. I actually learned some things!

I enjoyed the little sketches included. Looking at a photo of a given glacier, there is no way to recognize the sheer immensity. He had a sketch artist fix that problem by showing things to scale. For example, a glacier is seen across the entire landscape of the image. This image was sketched below the photograph with a teeny tiny section showing dark. This little black spot represented Manhattan Island. With that scale in mind the size was astounding! He did this while taking pictures of the active volcano Mount Erubus. He took the shot looking inside the volcano from the crater's rim. (And nothing in this world could ever entice me into doing that!!) In the photo it looks as if the interior walls of the crater are maybe five-six feet high. Pshh! The sketch artist went to work below the photo and showed a Statue of Liberty against those walls. Those suckers were about 600 feet high.

This wasn't all geology. He also showed the awesome images of naturally occuring ice sculptures, crevasses, sastrugi (wind-carved snow), the South Sea, ice bergs, cornices, lenticular clouds, and more. If nothing else, the images alone made this well worth the time to read. I really, really enjoyed it. I have decided that I would like to have the hardcover copy of this book when it's published.

I'd happily recommend this to any nature enthusiast out there, particularly if you enjoy looking at wintry landscapes as I do. For that matter, any readers interested in geology, mountains and rock formations would also be a good fit.

I received this eARC courtesy of NetGalley and University of Chicago Press.

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Wonderful coffee table book filled with beautiful photography from the Antarctic. The author is a scientist with decades of experience in geology. The photos are accompanied by illustrations, stories of fieldwork, and science. An enjoyable and inspiring read.

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I do not know much about Antartica or geology and I am not particularly interested in either. Yet I found Otherworldly Antartica utterly fascinating. There is something charming about reading or listening to someone talk about something they have poured their time and energy into. Edmund Stump's love affair with Antartica and its terrain makes for an absorbing book. As much as I enjoyed learning all the sciency bits, it was Stump's enthusiasm which kept me turning the pages. And I did enjoy the learning part. It was basic enough for me to follow although I had to reread a few of the paragraphs more than once to grasp the meaning. Who knew learning about wind patterns over ice could be so interesting? Anyone with even the slightest curiosity about the world we live in will enjoy learning more about Antartica, and those with a special interest in the place will find the photos and stories especially captivating. Thank you to the author, University of Chicago Press, and NetGalley for the eARC.

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