Asia and the Pacific Photos


Central Asia

East Asia

South Asia

Southeast Asia

Australia & New Zealand




Click on any of the thumbnails below.


Central Asia

Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Nisa, one of the first capitals of the Parthians, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

Kabul, Afghanistan

The national game of Afghanistan is Buzkashi. The game involves lots of men on horseback … and one dead goat. To score a point, you must grab the dead goat on your horse and carry it into the other team’s territory. Drawing thousands of fans, the games are like nothing else, with their fierce and electric atmosphere. It’s like glorified polo combined with Capture-the-Flag: very intense and easily one of the toughest games on earth.

Kabul-Jalalabad Highway, Afghanistan

near Ulan Bator, Mongolia


Nomadic Asian Yurt

Astana is the capital city of Kazakhstan, straddling the Ishim River in the north of the country. Along the left bank, the ultramodern, 97m-tall Bayterek tower offers panoramic views from its observation deck. The Ak Orda Presidential Palace is topped with a massive blue-and-gold dome. The giant, tentlike Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center houses a shopping mall and indoor beach resort.

The Dukha people of Mongolia have lived in the same region for centuries. During that time, they developed a special relationship with the region's wild animals.

the region of Guba in the northeast of Azerbaijan and the stunning landscape around the village of Khinalig, highest village in Azerbaijan

Situated between China and Russia, the Mongolian steppe remains mostly intact, and its nomadic way of life has been largely unchanged for generations.

Darul Aman Palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan: First built in the 1920s by King Amanullah Khan, the palace has been destroyed (by fire and warfare) and rebuilt many times. Its re-reconstruction is currently in the planning and fundraising stage.


Kyrgyzstan Mountains

73.7% of Tajikistan’s population lives in rural areas, with poor transportation and communication infrastructure.

Dungan women sell local fast food in Dordoi market’s main alley in Bishkek, the capital and largest city of the Kyrgyz Republic. (Dungan is a term used in territories of the former Soviet Union to refer to a Muslim people of Chinese origin.)

Patrons have lunch at a cafeteria in the older part of Andijan, Uzbekistan.

A Kyrgyz mountain tunnel is shut down for an hour as shepherds move their flocks to summer pastures.

Women wander through the ancient streets of Nokhur, Turkmenistan, located in an unmarked valley of the Kopet Dag Mountains, which make up the border of Iran and southern Turkmenistan. Nohurli consider themselves descendants of Alexander the Great.


Turkmen women walk on a sidewalk in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.

Sardoba, Uzbekistan, a village on the Tashkent-to-Samarkand highway, in Syrdarya Province

Male archers warm up for the first round of the men's national archery tournament during Naadam in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital and largest city. Naadam is a traditional Mongolia festival, also called the three games of men - Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery.

An Afghan woman gathers water at the village's central stream in Ishkashim, Afghanistan.

At a site dated to around 5000 - 8000 BCE, in Gobustan Azerbaijan, there are paintings or etchings (petroglyphs) of what appear to be long boats in the style of the Viking ships of more recent times. One theory is that people from the area went to Scandinavia with their boat building skills in about 100 CE and built the Viking boats we know from digs in Northern Europe.

Baku Azerbaijan


Laghman, Afghanistan, March 2020: Two children walked past members of a Taliban unit in an area the group controlled. In February, the US signed a deal with Taliban leaders, setting the stage to end America’s longest war.

In Balkh Province, northern Afghanistan (03/19/2024): A years-long drought in Afghanistan has displaced entire villages and left millions of children malnourished.

Kazakhstan  River




East Asia

Seoul (서울), the capital of South Korea, is a sprawling metropolis where hyper-modern skyscrapers, high-tech subways and pop culture meet Buddhist temples, palaces and street markets. With a municipal population of over 11.8 million and a metropolitan population totaling over 25.6 million, Seoul is by far South Korea's largest city and one of East Asia's financial and cultural epicenters. A fascinating blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge digital technology, home to endless street food vendors and vast nightlife districts, an extraordinarily high-pressure educational system and serene Buddhist temples, a trend-setting youth culture and often crushing conformism, extraordinary architecture and endless monotonous rows of grey apartment buildings, Seoul is a city filled with stark contrasts.

Taipei, officially known as Taipei City, is the capital city of Taiwan. Most of the city is located on the Taipei Basin, an ancient lakebed bounded by the two relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian Rivers. Taipei is the political, economic, educational and cultural center of Taiwan, and one of the major hubs of the Chinese-speaking world. Considered to be a global city, Taipei is part of a major high-tech industrial area. Railways, high-speed rail, highways, airports and bus lines connect Taipei with all parts of the island.

Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, China

Hong Kong

Guilin, China

South and North Korea: At night, North Korea is pitch black.


Throughout China, there are hundreds of cities that have everything needed for a modern, urban lifestyle: high-rise apartment complexes, developed waterfronts, skyscrapers and public art. Everything, that is, except one thing: the people,

These mysterious — and almost completely empty — cities are a part of China's larger plan to move 250 million citizens currently living in rural areas into urban locations by 2026.

Unlike the US, where cities often begin as small developments and grow in accordance with local industries, these new Chinese cities are built to the point of near completion before introducing people, a completely new type of urban development.

Right: 11 photos from photographer Kai Caemmerer’s series Unborn Cities, 2015

Unborn City#1

Unborn City#2

Unborn City#3

Unborn City#4


Unborn City#5

Unborn City#6

Unborn City#7

Unborn City#8

Unborn City#9

Unborn City#10

Unborn City#11


The Danxia Landform in Zhangye, China gets its color from red sandstone and mineral deposits.

National Palace Museum in Taiwan

The National Museum of China in Beijing

Hong Kong

Three Gorges Dam, Hubei province, China

Yantai encompasses a port city and its surrounding area in eastern China's Shandong province. In the north is Penglai Pavilion, a centuries-old clifftop pagoda overlooking the Bohai Strait. Farther east, connected to the mainland, Zhifu Island is the site of Neolithic artifacts.


Pyongyang North Korea

This picture of the Korean peninsula does a pretty good job of capturing the legacy of Kim Jong Il by comparing electricity usage at night between North and South Korea.

Taklamakan Desert, China: A vast alluvial fan blossoms across the desolate landscape between the Kunlun and Altun mountain ranges that form the southern border of the Taklimakan Desert in China’s XinJiang Province.

Xuan Kong Si (The Hanging Temple), Datong, China, has managed to cling to its rock face for over 1,400 years. Long wooden beams extend from the outer edge of the Xuan Kong Si buildings down to holes chiseled into the rock. The temple’s unlikely location was chosen by its Taoist builders for one main reason: It is quiet.

We love Taiwan -- anindependent country, not a part of China. And we need your friendship and understanding.

Jeju-do is South Korea's largest island.


Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, Hong Kong

Akebono Kodomo-no-mori Park, Saitama, Japan

Between the 1950s and mid-1990s, tens of thousands of immigrants constructed a towering community 12 stories high across a 6.4-acre lot in Hong Kong. It was called the Kowloon Walled City. With a population of 33,000 squeezed into a tiny lot, the city at its peak was 119 times as dense as present-day New York City. Although it faced rampant crime and poor sanitation, the city was impressively self-sustainable until its demolition began in 1993.

Kyoto, Japan

Miyajima island, Japan

Tokyo Japan


Kawachi Fuji Gardens wisteria tunnel, Japan

Hong Kong, China, 2010, photo by Marcus Lyon

Pudong Shanghai, China, 2010, photo by Marcus Lyon

Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong

When North Korean children turn 7, they become indoctrinated into the North Korean Children’s Union. In a huge ceremony, the children are given red scarves, which are tied around their shoulders by retired military personnel and then make a pledge to their Supreme Leader.

This massive structure is a quite typical North Korean apartment building in the capital city. As depressing at it looks, the people living here are actually the lucky ones, as they do not face the abhorrent conditions of living in the countryside.


North Korea has a specified list of 28 hairstyles for men and women that one can choose from. You must keep your hair styled in one of the regulated options at all times. Men must keep their hair shorter than 5cm (about 2 inches), but elderly men are allowed 7cm.

Along the miles of North Korean farmland, shanty construction and unfinished roads can be seen. Most likely the country, which is unbelievably poor, ran out of money for the road and simply stopped building it.

North Korea’s second-largest city, Hamhung

This is Kijong-dong or Peace City, situated on the North Korean side of the border of North and South Korea in the Demilitarized Zone. It is home to a 200-family collective farm, complete with a child care center, schools for all grades, and a hospital. That all sounds well and good, except for the fact that South Koreans have been observing this city and have come to realize it is completely uninhabited. Residential buildings have no glass in their windows. Electric lights operate on an automatic timer. There are only maintenance people to give the impression of ongoing activity.

a North Korean store for locals (forbidden to tourists): You can see how empty the shop is, devoid of most items and with almost completely bare shelves.

Malnutrition is an enormous problem in North Korea. In 2014, North Korea’s GDP per person was $1,800. For some perspective, South Korea’s GDP per person that year was $37,900.


The city of Wuhan, China, home to the first documented coronavirus cases, became one of the first cities to shut down. To contain the coronavirus outbreak, the government banned most public transportation and private cars from its streets.

Hong Kong, January, 2020: After weeks of relative calm, pro-democracy protesters took to the streets, resuming mass demonstrations that had begun the previous June.

A gap between towers in Hong Kong’s Kingsford Terrace residential complex frames the city’s imposing mountainous backdrop.

Tiny Macau, a special administrative region of China, has seen its low-key colonial character give way to massive commercial and tourist development. The former Portuguese colony, a near neighbor of Hong Kong, occupies a small peninsula and two islands off China's southern coast. Its economy revolves around tourism. Macau has capitalized on its long history as a gambling center, drawing many thousands of visitors from China and Hong Kong. New mega-casinos, which include major hotel developments, have replaced traditional gambling dens.

Macau has more five-star hotels than any other city in the world but most of its residents live elsewhere. Macau packs 686,607 residents into12.3 square miles of territory.

The Gangzhu’ao Bridge (an engineering marvel that, in spite of its name, adds up to 34 miles of cable-stayed bridges, underwater tunnels and artificial islands) links Macau and Hong Kong.


Lhasa, Tibet/Xizand: The Potala Palace is the former residence of the Dalai Lama and one of the area's best known landmarks. Tibet, the remote and mainly-Buddhist territory known as the Roof of the World, is an autonomous region of China. Historically, Tibet was much larger, made up of three major areas - U-Tsang, Amdo and Kham. While most of U-Tsang is in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, the other two lie outside it. Tibet's history includes periods when it was an independent entity and other times when it was ruled by powerful Chinese and Mongolian dynasties. Beijing claims a centuries-old sovereignty over Tibet. However, this Chinese view of imperial rule over Tibet spanning many centuries is disputed by exiled Tibetan communities and rights groups. In 1950, China sent in thousands of troops to enforce its claim on Tibet. Many of Tibet's monasteries were destroyed during China's Cultural Revolution. Thousands of Tibetans are believed to have been killed during periods of repression and martial law. No country openly disputes China's claim to sovereignty, and China has blocked all UN Security Council resolutions on Tibet since the People's Republic took over the China seat in the UN in 1971.

The allegiance of many Tibetans lie with the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who is seen by his followers as a living god but by Beijing as a separatist threat. The Dalai Lama, or Ocean of Wisdom, is the leading spiritual figure of Tibet. The Panchen Lama is the second most important figure. Both are seen as the reincarnations of their predecessors. In 1959, after a failed anti-Chinese uprising, the Dalai Lama fled and set up a government in exile in India.

Given its altitude and its vast glaciers, along with its mighty rivers, Tibet is considered not only the Water Tower of Asia, but also of the planet. It is also known as The Third Pole, as it holds the third largest store of water-ice in the world, after Antarctica and the Arctic. Tibet's economy depends largely on agriculture. Forests and grasslands occupy large parts of the country. The territory is rich in minerals, but poor transport links have limited their exploitation. Tourism is an important source of revenue. While Tibetans' standard of living has greatly improved in recent years, Tibet remains tightly controlled by Chinese authorities.


South Asia

Varanasi India

The Maldives

Nepalese terraces about 3,281 feet high  

The Maldives, North Atoll

Lahore is the second largest city in Pakistan and one of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Colombo, Sri Lanka


the India-Pakistan Himalayan border

Paro Taktshang, Bhutan: Legend has it that the area that is today in western Bhutan was once haunted by evil spirits. These spirits lived in a cave with an entrance on a cliff side inaccessible to regular humans. In the year 747, a great Buddhist teacher meditated on the cliff in such a way that he was able to assume a wrathful form and fly to the cave on the back of a tiger and defeat these spirits. A monastery was built on the spot of his victory; today the monastery represents the victory of good over evil. The seven separate temples that comprise the complex, the name of which translates to Tiger’s Nest, cling improbably to a small outcropping in the cliff.

Off the western coast of India is Elephanta Island, which harbors a major archaeological site — the Elephanta Caves. The sculptures and carvings, thought to be around 1,500 years old, are among “the most perfect expressions” of Indian art. The main cave holds a 23-foot-tall representation of the Hindu god Shiva in three aspects — Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.

Himalayan snow leopard

Kathmandu Nepal

Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress located in the central Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka.


In the shelter of the Himalaya mountains, lies one of the most isolated nations in the world – Bhutan, a balance between modernization and  the retention of ancient culture.

Rice field north of Pokhara, Nepal: The Himalayan mountain chain runs north of Nepal, separating it from its giant neighbor, China. The mountains crown Nepal with a string of 8 peaks (out of a world total of 14) higher than 26,232 feet. The economy is based on agriculture, which employs 80% of the working population and accounts for 41% of the GDP of one of the world's poorest countries. Generations of farmers have tamed the mountainsides and prevented erosion by cutting terraces. Rice paddies thus rise in tiers as high as 9,800 feet above sea level, covering 45% of Nepal's cultivated land.

the Bhenwa family in the city of Jodhpur, Rajasthan,India

A Nepalese woman pours milk as she offers prayers to the setting Sun on the banks of the Bagmati River during the Chhath Puja festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. During Chhath, an ancient Hindu festival, rituals are performed to thank the Sun God for sustaining life on earth.

Kingdom of Bhutan on the edge of the Himalayas

Thar Desert, India: The Indian city of Bikaner is visible in the lower part of the image. Vegetation appears red.


After more than 25 years of violence and conflict, the island nation of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, has emerged from political strife and social upheaval to become one of South Asia’s most fascinating nations.

Pakistan’s Khyber Pass

Negombo, Sri Lanka: a fishing village, 25 miles up the western coast from the capital, Colombo

Dhaka: Formerly East Pakistan, Bangladesh came into being in 1971, when the two parts of Pakistan split after a bitter war which drew in neighboring India. Bangladesh spent 15 years under military rule and, although democracy was restored in 1990, the political scene remains volatile. Islamist extremism has been rising in the traditionally tolerant country. Poverty is widespread, but Bangladesh has in recent years reduced population growth and improved health and education.

Traditional fishing boats on the beach at Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh: Bangladesh is low-lying and vulnerable to flooding and cyclones. It stands to be badly affected by any rise in sea levels.

Bangladesh is one of the world's most densely populated countries, with its people living in a huge delta region formed at the confluence of the Ganges and Brahmaputra River systems that empty into the Bay of Bengal.


Named by 16th century Portuguese mapmakers, the Paracel Islands are a collection of 130 small coral islands and reefs in the northwestern part of the South China Sea. They support abundant marine life. But more than being just a rich fishing ground, there is speculation the islands could harbor potential energy reserves. They have no indigenous population to speak of, only Chinese military garrisons amounting to 1,400 people. Maps from as early as 1686 show the islands as belonging to the Nguyen Dynasty, which ruled much of what is now modern Vietnam but there is no certainty on who really owns them. China says its claims to the islands can be traced back thousands of years. What is unmistakable is that the Paracels have been in Chinese hands for 45 years. Beijing increasingly claims almost all of the South China Sea as its territory and seeks to be the supreme influence on resources and access in this region and beyond.

No Chinese lived in the Paracels until China’s occupation of Woody Island (shown), the largest land mass in the Paracels, in 1956 and the rest of the archipelago in 1974 after a brief and bloody fight with then-South Vietnamese forces. But China’s actions in both cases were in violation of the UN charter barring force to threaten another nation’s territorial integrity and not a valid claim of sovereignty. Since ousting the last Vietnamese troops from the Paracels in 1974, China has been steadily fortifying its claim to the islands, putting military garrisons on them and building an airfield and artificial harbor on Woody Island. The reality on the ground is that China has occupied the entire Paracel group for 40 years and, short of military action by Vietnam to recapture the archipelago, isn’t going to leave.

The Spratly Islands consist of more than 100 small islands or reefs occupying a 150,000 square mile area surrounded by rich fishing grounds … and potentially by massive gas and oil deposits. The islands are strategically located near several primary shipping lanes in the central South China Sea but the tiny size, remoteness and vulnerability of the islands to tropical storms make them unattractive to permanent settlement. They are claimed in their entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam, while portions are claimed by Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. About 45 islands are occupied by relatively small numbers of military forces from China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

The government of the Philippines is turning Thitu  Island, Spratlys, into a new logistics and resupply base, in order to support its presence and law enforcement operations in the area.

Vietnam has slowly built up some of the major islets in the Spratlys, including Pugad Island.

China has built a maritime rescue center on the artificial island of Fiery Cross Reef, Spratlys.


Storm Island, Spratlys: Vietnam has reclaimed 37 acres, which has allowed for the addition of a harbor and the doubling of the length of the island's runway .

Whitson Reef, Spratlys, is the largest reef of the Union Banks and lies at their northeastern most extreme limit. According to experts, island-building and overfishing the archipelago are destroying the impacted reefs, and the entire ecosystem of the Spratly Islands archipelago is at risk of collapse or severe degradation.


Southeast Asia

Cambodian market seller, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set in northwest Cambodia, Siem Reap is best known for being the gateway to the Angkor ruins, a sprawling complex of more than 400 ancient temples. It runs along the north shore of the Tonle Sap, Cambodia’s “Great Lake.” The Tonle Sap is a combined lake and river system of huge importance to Cambodia. The area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities living in floating villages around the lake. The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. For most of the year the lake is fairly small, around 3.3 feet deep and with an area of 1,042 mi2. During the monsoon season, however, the Tonlé Sap River, which connects the lake with the Mekong River, reverses its flow. Water is pushed up from the Mekong into the lake, increasing its area to 6,178 mi2 and its depth to up to 29.5 feet, flooding nearby fields and forests. The floodplain provides a perfect breeding ground for fish.

Wayag Island, Raja Ampat District, Indonesia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Bangkok, Thailand


Bromo volcano, Java, Indonesia

Bagan, Myanmar

Looking like something Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up, the Southeast Asia binturong has a face like a cat's and a body like a bear's, long, shaggy black hair, stiff white whiskers, and a prehensile tail that’s as long as its body. Binturongs are also called bearcats, but that name is rather misleading since these animals are not related to bears or cats. Binturongs are classed as carnivores but eat mostly fruit. Their long ear tufts and reddish-brown eyes give them an endearing appearance. Binturongs spend most of their time in the trees. Padded paws and long claws help them grasp branches. Their body is low to the ground, like a bear or a human. They walk flat-footed, and, when waddling on the ground, they tend to amble much like a bear does. Unlike a bear or human, though, binturongs can turn their ankles 180 degrees so their claws can still grip when climbing down a tree headfirst.  A binturong’s tail is very thick and muscular at the base, with the last third of it prehensile to be used like an extra hand when climbing around in the treetops. A leathery patch at the tip helps the tail grip the branches. Binturong youngsters have been seen hanging upside down while completely supported by their tail, but adults are a bit too heavy to do this without using a paw or two for an extra grip. Binturongs can swim fairly well and have good vision day or night, and so can be active at any hour they choose.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Asian tent city

Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Brunei.


Bagan, Myanmar: Built in 1057, horse carts still dot the streets, people wash their clothes in the river and there are Buddhist temples and pagodas as far as the eye can see.

Hang Son Doong, Vietnam, is home to the world’s largest cave. Collapses caused by erosion leave small and big holes through which sunlight penetrates and creates stunning views. The cave was created 2-5 million years ago by river water eroding away the limestone underneath the mountain.

Ancient Pyu kingdom cities, Myanmar: These brick, walled and moated cities (Halin, Beikthano, Sri Ksetra and others in the country’s Irrawaddy basin) flourished for over 1,000 years, between 200 BCE and 900 CE, before the first Burmese kingdom was founded in the 9th century. Pyu was one of the earliest known Buddhist kingdoms. The Pyu cities were heavily influenced by trade with India, as was the later Burmese kingdom.

The Popa Taungkalat Buddhist temple, Pagan, Myanmar, is home to a few dozen monkeys. It is also where the 37 spirits, or Nats, that are central to Burmese religious life reside. Each year thousands of pilgrims gather to make a communal trek to the shrine.

Village on stilts in Tongkil, Samales Islands, Philippines: The southern Philippines, and in particular the Sulu Archipelago that includes the Samales Islands, is home to the Badjaos. The Badjaos belong to a Muslim minority who make up 5% of the Philippine population and are concentrated mostly in the south of the country. Known as sea gypsies, they fish and harvest shellfish and pearl oysters, and they live in villages on stilts. A channel carved out of the coral reef allows them to reach the open sea.

Town of Koh Pannyi, Phand Nga bay, Thailand: The southwestern coast of Thailand offers a series of beautiful bays lined with many islands. Phang-nga Bay's special formations were created after the thawing of ice 15,000 years ago. Rising waters then submerged arid calcareous mountains, leaving only their peaks visible to the eye. The village of Koh Panyi was built on piles two centuries ago by Muslim sailors coming from Malaysia. The inhabitants make a living via traditional fishing and tourism. Preserved by its configuration, the bay floor of Phang-nga Bay suffered much less from the tsunami of December 26, 2004 than nearby sites.


Due to its religious history, Bali (an Indonesian island) has an estimated 10,000 temples. Too, Bali is part of the Coral Triangle, the area with the highest biodiversity of marine species. In this area alone over 500 reef-building coral species can be found. For comparison, this is about 7 times as many as in the entire Caribbean.

Langkawi archipelago (99 islands) Malaysia

Floating Market, South Borneo: A floating market is a market where goods are displayed and sold from boats. They are developed in places where water transportation plays an important role in everyday life.

Palawan, Philippines: an island that is virtually unnavigable, with steep cliffs and closed jungles … Lake Kayangan and Lake Barracuda seem to flow out of sheer mountain walls.

Luzon is big; the largest island in the Philippines and the 15th largest in the world. Its beaches and turquoise water encase Spanish colonial cities that are reminiscent of Caribbean Spanish strongholds, while the real highlights are its green rice terraces.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore


The Singapore Botanic Gardens is the first and only tropical botanic garden to be featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Ko Phi Phi Islands, Thailand

 Myanmar has long suffered from political strife and lived under the control of an incredibly repressive and corrupt military regime.

A small and relatively untouched country in Southeast Asia, Lao has a tragic past and still bears scars from the Vietnam War. Though there is no threat of war or bombs, Lao was a bombing target during the Vietnam war and much of the land is still a literal minefield — especially in the countryside — waiting to explode.

Talisay island, Philippines

Cebu island, Philippines


central Laos

Akha Girl, Muang Sing, North Laos

Nam Song River, South Laos

Paracel Islands (Vietnam)

At the southwest corner of Subi Reef, in the Spratly Islands, lies a complex of concrete multistory structures, including a large-domed radar station, a helipad and a dormitory.

Bangkok Thailand


Chiang Mai is a city in mountainous northern Thailand. Founded in 1296, it was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still retains vestiges of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious center. It’s also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents.

The geography of Thailand’s interior is dominated by the Central Plains, the Rice Bowl of Asia, through which the Chao Phraya River feeds expansive rice fields and then enters the bustling capital of Bangkok before spilling into the Gulf of Thailand.

aerial view near Dili, capital of Timor-Leste

Atauro Island, Timor-Leste

Dili, Timor-Leste

Heeren Street, Malacca Malaysia


The City of Cebu, Philippines includes Cebu Island and more than 150 smaller surrounding islands and islets. It was the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines and is home to the oldest street, Colon Street, in the Philippines. The oldest fort in the Philippines, Fuerte de San Pedro, and the oldest surviving Catholic relic in the country, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu Church, are in Cebu City.

Lake Toba, Indonesia: the world’s largest crater lake

Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Philippines

Moalboal , Cebu Island, Philippines

Bindoy, Negros Oriental, Philippines

Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines


Bais City, Negros Oriental, Philippines


Australia and New Zealand

New Zealand

Sydney, Australia

The Great Barrier Reef

Australia at night

Like an iceberg, it's believed that only a third of Uluru - or Ayers Rock – in Australia lies above ground. What we can see measures 2.5 miles long and 1,141 feet tall, so Uluru is an awfully big rock. It is a site of spiritual significance for the Anangu people and is known for its fabulous colors at dawn and sunset, when the pitted rock surface turns from ocher brown to a rich burnished orange.

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. It’s also the largest Polynesian city in the world and the most multi-cultural, with over 180 different ethnic groups.


Birds of paradise outshine other birds with their beautiful plumage and spectacular courtship displays. No other bird group is so beautiful or so rich in variety of plumage and behavior as the birds of paradise. Their gorgeous colors and fantastical trailing plumes gave rise to incredible stories of their origins and habits, and the Malay phrase for the birds, manuq dewata, translates to birds of the gods. These birds are found in the rain forests and mid-montane forests of northeastern Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. Comfortable in the trees, birds of paradise generally stay in the upper ranges of the forest canopy. Some species do go a bit lower and may occasionally forage on the forest floor. The birds like to bathe using shallow forest ponds. Most female birds of paradise build a cup nest of vines, twigs, leaves and moss. When it comes to courtship, birds of paradise are truly amazing. Some species dance in trees; others create a stage of sorts on the forest floor by stripping away leaves to let sunlight shine down on them, spotlight fashion. Many males display in a common area known as a lek, where they compete to catch a female's interest. Displays can include charging and then posturing stiffly, hanging from limbs, or alternately freezing and spinning.

Australian wheat harvest, 2015

Queenstown New Zealand

New Zealand's Milford Sound

Tasmania Australia

Gosse's Bluff meteor crater, Northern territory, Australia: Approximately 135 million years ago a meteorite fell on Australian soil, devastating more than 8 square miles  in what is now the Northern Territory. Today a crater 3 miles in diameter and 500 feet deep remains, called Gosse's Bluff and known as Tnorala to the Aboriginal people.


Icebergs and an Adelie penguin, Adelie Land, Antarctica: Antarctica is a unique observation point for atmospheric and climatic phenomena; its ancient ice, which trapped air when it was formed, contains evidence of the Earth's climate as it has changed and developed over the past millions of years.

Coober Pedy, a town situated in south Australia, is best known as the Opal Capital of the World. But what's even more impressive is that the local population of 1,500 move their life underground to escape the daily heat. The town's old mines have been refurbished and now feature everything locals need during the day, like shops, kitchens, bookstores and even two churches.

Most of Napier New Zealand was flattened by a devastating earthquake in 1931, after which it was rebuilt in art deco style.

The west coast of New Zealand’s South Island stretches 373 miles from Kahurangi Point to Awarua Point and is often called Mother Nature’s playground. This swath of land along the Great Coast Road is filled with mountains, glaciers, national parks and rain forests.

The pink color of Lake Hillier, Australia, comes from its high salt content and the organisms living inside of it: algae and halobacteria.

Perth, Australia 


Auckland , New Zealand

Christchurch, New Zealand

Canberra, Australia



Fijians building a traditional bure home (Bure is the Fijian word for a wood-and-straw hut, sometimes similar to a cabin.)

traditional village in Fiji


Kiribati, an island republic in the Central Pacific, is comprised of 33 coral atolls stretching along the equator. The crowded capital, South Tarawa, made up of small islets, retains remnants of WWII battles fought on its shores.

Nauru is the smallest state in the South Pacific and third smallest in the world. Only the Vatican City and Monaco are smaller. Nauru has roughly 10,000 residents. Nauru enjoyed the highest per-capita income in the world during the 60s and 70s due to the country’s phosphate resources. When the phosphate reserves were exhausted, the country had to find new ways to earn money. Nauru briefly became a tax haven and illegal money laundering center. Since then, Nauru has been heavily dependent on Australian aid. The capital city is Yaren.

Niue is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean, 1,500 miles northeast of New Zealand. Its land area is 100 mi2 and its population, predominantly Polynesian, is around 1,190. They commonly refer to their island as "The Rock.” Niue, whose capital is the village of Alofi, is a self-governing state in free association with New Zealand, and New Zealand conducts most diplomatic relations on its behalf. 90-95% of Niuean people live in New Zealand.


The Pitcairn Islands, officially Pitcairn, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean that form the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific. The four islands – Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno – are spread over several hundred miles of ocean and have a total land area of about 18 mi2. Only Pitcairn, the second largest island measuring about 2.2 miles from east to west, is inhabited. Adamstown is the capital.

Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea

Melekeok Capital Building, Palau

aerial view of Nukunonu Tokelau

Tonga is the only monarchy among South Pacific island nations.

NASA’S image of the day: The atoll of Wake Island, located in the central Pacific Ocean


To Sua (big hole) ocean trench is on Samoa’s main island of Upolu. It's a crystal clear, turquoise-blue 100-foot hole, accessed by a very steep wooden ladder, which leads down to a small wooden platform. The water flows through a lava-tube tunnel.

Solomon Islands

Gizo, Solomon Islands

Melanesian youth from the Solomon Islands

The Cook Islands are a group of fifteen small islands lying almost solely in the south of the Pacific Ocean. They were named for Captain Cook who saw the islands in the year 1770.

Aitutaki in the Cook Islands


A 20-mile road circles the whole of Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands.

In the central north of Rarotonga Island, bustling downtown Avarua, the little capital city of the Cook Islands, offers 24-hour phone service, supermarkets, two banks, restaurants/bars and the Rarotonga International airport.

Nouméa, Grand Terre, New Caledonia: New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific, is an archipelago made up of Grand Terre, the Loyalty Islands and the Isle of Pines. New Caledonia has one of the region's highest average incomes per capita. It is rich in resources and accounts for around 10% of the world's nickel reserve. New Caledonia enjoys a large degree of autonomy but depends heavily on France for matters like defense and education. Following periods of violence in the 1980s over the issue of independence, several agreements were signed including the 1998 Nouméa Accord, which set out a roadmap for greater autonomy for the territory, but the indigenous Kanak population believe it is being left behind in the process. Chinese influence on the island is growing. A significant portion of New Caledonia's exports, much of which is nickel, goes to China.

The New Caledonia archipelago is protected by the world’s largest coral lagoon paired with the second largest barrier reef.

The Kanak nationalist movement has led to deep divisions between New Caledonia’s indigenous  Kanak population and its large French migrant community (Caldoche), most notably over the question of independence. The Kanak nationalist movement rose out of the mistreatment of the Kanak population by the French government in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Formal annexation by France in 1853 saw the Kanak legally and politically disenfranchised and forced land seizures began around what is now the capital, Noumea. France declared the island a penal colony in 1864, sending more than 20,000 prisoners over the next three decades. In 1878, the Kanaks were relegated to reservations until 1953. During this time blackbirding by forced-labor recruiters from Australia began. Thousands of Kanak were kidnapped and put to work in Queensland’s agricultural industry before most were deported in the early 1900s under the White Australia Act. After nickel was discovered on the island, labor was imported, blocking the Kanak from participating economically. France still runs the mine today. The current differences between the Kanak and Caldoche are stark. French immigrants often enjoy a wage much higher in New Caledonia than their earnings in France. The salary of French civil servants, for instance, is almost two times higher in Nouméa than in Europe. The Kanak are substantially behind on almost every social and economic indicator.  It’s little wonder that the Kanak prefer independence.

open-pit nickel mine on New Caledonia


 Hagåtña, Guam: Guam is an island in the North Pacific Ocean. After World War II, political pressure from indigenous  Chamorro leaders led to Guam being established as an unincorporated organized territory in 1950 with US citizenship granted to all Chamorro.  The US military bases constitute the island’s most important source of income and economic stability.

An aerial view of US Naval Base Guam, part of Apra harbor: Guam is a strategic asset for the US presence in the Western Pacific, hosting both the naval base and Andersen Air Force Base. Its location and size make it strategically important. It is the only island with both a protected harbor and enough land for multiple airports between Asia and Hawaii (on an east-west axis) and between Papua New Guinea and Japan (on a north-south axis). Guam is the closest US territory to North Korea.

Guam’s island is a result of volcanic activity. It has a relatively flat coralline limestone plateau in the north that provides most of the drinking water, hills in the center, mountains in the south, and coastal lowlands ringing most of the island.  Much of the coast is protected by a fringing reef. Cocos Island off the southern tip is the largest of the many small islets along the coastline.

Scenes from Guam

The Marshall Islands consist of two chains of coral atolls, together with more than 1,000 islets, just north of the Equator. The atolls are coral deposits on the crater rims of submerged volcanoes. Kwajalein atoll surrounds the world's largest lagoon. The islands were occupied by the US for several decades after WWII. They are now a sovereign nation under a Compact of Free Association with the US which came into force in 1986 and was renegotiated in 2003. The US controls the security and defense of the islands and provides millions of dollars in aid every year. Majuro, Marshall Islands: The capital is an atoll of 64 islands. Government buildings are housed on 3 fused islands - Delap, Uliga, Djarrit - on the eastern side if the atoll.

Atomic bomb tests such as this one off Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, in 1946, rendered several islands uninhabitable: The legacy of the post-war US occupation is seen particularly starkly on Bikini and Enewetak, which were both used for nuclear weapons testing between 1946 and 1958.


In 1977, following nuclear testing, the US Army bulldozed more than 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris into a bomb crater and capped it with hundreds of 18-inch-thick concrete slabs. Runit Dome (nicknamed The Tomb by locals) sits roughly 25 feet above sea level on low-lying Enewetak atoll, Marshall Islands. People on top of the thick concrete cap, which measures nearly 400 feet in diameter, look like ants in this aerial view. The dome is deteriorating due to cracking and could be breached by a typhoon or rising sea levels (though the sediments in the lagoon are even more radioactive than those which are contained in the dome). Some Marshallese fear it may eventually collapse. However, American officials have said it's not their problem and responsibility falls on the Marshallese, as it is their land.

Currently, the US rents the Kwajalein atoll, Marshall Islands, as a base and missile test range. Kwajalein also hosts one of four dedicated ground antennas that assist in the operation of the GPS navigation system.

The low-lying Marshall Islands are increasingly vulnerable to climate change, which threatens the very existence of the islands. Many atolls lie barely a meter above sea level and are at risk of being engulfed by rising waters.

Palikir: The Federated States of Micronesia in the western Pacific, consists of some 600 island. Occupying a very small total land mass, it is scattered over 271 square miles. Micronesia was formerly a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a UN trust territory administered by the US, but it became a sovereign state after independence in 1986 when it signed a Compact of Free Association with the US. Under this compact, Washington took on responsibility for defense and gained the right to set up military bases and deny other nations access to Micronesia. In return, Micronesia received financial assistance and the right of Micronesians to live and work in the US. Micronesia's biggest challenge is to find a way of lessening its dependence on foreign aid, with tourism seen as one possibility.

The Federated States of Micronesia is made up of scattered islands, such as Yap.

An isolated homestead off the island of Pohnpei


Ruins of the city of Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia : Nan Madol was the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur Dynasty, which ruled Pohnpei's estimated 25,000 people from about 1100 to 1628. Nan Madol is the only surviving ancient city built on top of a coral reef. Constructed in a lagoon and surrounded by water on three sides with a stone wall enclosing the complex, the name roughly translates to within the intervals referring to the elaborate web of tidal canals and waterways that crisscross the site, allowing transportation between over 90 small artificial islets. The foundations of these islets were all constructed of columnar basalt and large boulders. The stone- and coral-filled platforms creating artificial islets are built above tide level. Carved basalt stones carefully placed on top of each other in a crisscross pattern formed the walls of each of the 130 buildings. The buildings stand on a foundation of natural coral that lies just below the water's surface. Basalt boulders, some as heavy as 50 tons, were transported by rafts to Nan Madol from the other side of the island and levered into place with palm tree trunks. The boulders were dragged up log ramps before being piled one atop the other. No mortar was used to hold them together. Nan Madol was built so that the nobility were isolated from the general population. At its peak, the city may have been home to a thousand people, the majority of whom were commoners serving the nobility. Postholes found on several islets suggest the construction of thatched-roofed wooden structures on top of the platforms, similar to those known locally. Nan Madol became the most important political and religious center on the island. The social system at Nan Madol is the earliest known example of such centralized political power in the western Pacific.

Midway Atoll is a 2.4 sq mi atoll in the North Pacific Ocean. Midway Atoll is an unorganized and unincorporated territory of the US. The largest island is Sand Island, which has housing and an airstrip. Immediately to the east of Sand Island across the narrow Brooks Channel is Eastern Island, which is uninhabited and no longer has any facilities. Forming a rough, incomplete circle around the two main islands and creating Midway Lagoon is Spit Island, a narrow reef. Midway is the only island in the Hawaiian Archipelago that is not part of the state of Hawaii.

The Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, encompassing 590,991.5 acres of land and water in the surrounding area, is administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Its lagoon and surrounding waters are home to over 250 species of marine life, and its beaches are breeding grounds for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals who raise their pups on the beaches, feeding on Midway's reef fish, squid, octopus and crustaceans. Another threatened species, green sea turtles, sometimes nest there. There are spinner dolphins, and Laysan, short-tailed and black-footed albatross. The staff of the US Fish and Wildlife Service and contract workers, about 50 people, live on Sand Island. Nearly all supplies must be brought to the island by ship or plane, although a hydroponic greenhouse and garden supply some fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a US commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean consisting of the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana archipelago , including Saipan, Tinian and Rota. (The southernmost island in the archipelago, Guam, is a separate US territory.) The southern islands are mostly flat limestone and coastal coral reefs, while the northern islands consist of volcanic mountain peaks. Saipan, the largest island, is known for its sandy shores and mountainous landscapes. Off its west coast is the tiny, coral-fringed Mañagaha islet. The ocean surrounding the CNMI  has more than 60 underwater volcanoes. Saipan is the largest island and the capital of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The legislative and executive branches of government are located in the village of Capitol Hill on the island while the judicial branch is headquartered in the village of Susupe. Since the entire island is organized as a single municipality, most publications designate Saipan as the capital.

The Mariana Islands were the first islands settled by humans in remote Oceania. The islanders eventually became known as the Chamorros (shown). Most of the islands' native population (90–95%) died from European diseases carried by the Spaniards or married non-Chamorro settlers under Spanish rule.  New settlers, primarily from the Philippines and Caroline Islands, were brought to repopulate the islands, although the Chamorro population gradually recovered. During the 17th century, Spanish colonists forcibly relocated the Chamorros to Guam. By the time the Chamorros were allowed to return to the Northern Marianas, many Carolinians had settled there. Today, Native Micronesians outnumber the indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian populations.

Agricultural production and livestock remain important for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and for feeding the region, with Tinian being known as the breadbasket of the Marianas. CNMI’S industry consists of tourism, banking, fishing, construction, garments and handicrafts. Like other remote islands, the CNMI faces the challenge of declining population numbers, leading to falling tax revenues and pressures on public services.


The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is home to an incredible array of wildlife species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The waters around the CNMI are home to five endangered whale species: blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, sei whales and sperm whales. Dugongs, a sea mammal related to the manatee, also swim around the islands. The official bird of the CNMI is the Mariana fruit dove, a green fruit-eating bird that lives nowhere else on earth. Four endangered species of sea turtles (green, hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead) live near the CNMI.

Pago Pago, Tutuila , American Samoa: American Samoa is an unincorporated, unorganized Territory of the US with local self-government. American Samoa is the only permanently inhabited territory of the US in which citizenship is not granted at birth, and people born there are considered non-citizen nationals with limited rights. American Samoa consists of 5 volcanic islands (Tutuila, Aunuʻu, Ofu, Olosega, and Taʻū) with rugged peaks and limited coastal plains and two coral atolls (Rose Atoll, Swains Island). Tutuila Island has one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the South Pacific Ocean, sheltered from rough seas by its shape and protected from high winds by peripheral mountains. American Samoa’s GDP: Agriculture 27.4% (bananas, coconuts, vegetables, taro, breadfruit, yams, copra, pineapples, papayas, dairy products, livestock), Industry 12.4% (tuna canneries largely supplied by foreign fishing vessels, handicrafts) and Services 60.2% (government services)

The topography of Tutuila, largest of the islands of American Samoa: The total area of Tutuila is about 55 sq mi. The large bay near the center is Pago Pago Harbor, a submerged volcanic crater whose south wall collapsed millions of years ago. Adjacent to the harbor is Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, and to the left (west) of the harbor is Matafao Peak, Tutuila's highest point (2,142 ft). The small island to the east is Aunu’u.

Pago Pago Harbor, Tutuila, American Samoa: the mouth (entrance) is to the left. Pago Pago Harbor extends deep into Tutuila Island providing excellent protection for ships at anchor. The tall mountains surrounding Pago Pago make it a sheltered harbor.

American Samoa: The matai are family patriarchs. The title brings a family prestige, and the matai must uphold that prestige within the village and beyond. A matai is responsible for maintaining family unity and harmony, as well as promoting participation in religious or church-related activities. They also serve as family spokesman in the village council of chiefs, or fono, thereby providing the family a voice in all village matters and public affairs.

French Polynesia is a sprawling overseas collectivity  of France in the Pacific Ocean, made up of 118 volcanic and coral islands and atolls (of which, 67 are inhabited). There are five island groups in French Polynesia - the Society Islands, the Tuamotu archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands and the Tubuai Islands. Tahiti, Society Islands, is the most densely-populated island. The Tuamotu archipelago (in contrast to the other groups) includes only low-lying coral atolls (78 in all), and of these, only a handful have passable inlets into their central lagoons. French Polynesia enjoys a high standard of living, but wealth is unevenly distributed and unemployment is high. Tourism is a key part of the economy.


Papeete, Tahiti - the capital of French Polynesia - was founded in 1843.

Arahurahu in Tahiti is a marae - temple or meeting place - which reflects part of the pre-contact Maohi culture that thrived in French Polynesia.

A nuclear test on Mururoa atoll in 1971: For France, the huge stretch of the Pacific that includes French Polynesia - as large as Western Europe - remains strategically valuable. Atomic testing on the atolls enabled France to keep the nuclear clout it needed to remain one of the world's leading powers.

Norfolk Island is an external territory of Australia located in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia. Together with the neighboring Phillip Island and Nepean Island, the three islands collectively form the Territory of Norfolk Island. East Polynesians were the first to settle Norfolk Island, but they had already departed when Great Britain settled it as part of its 1788 colonization of Australia. Permanent civilian residence on the island began in 1856 when descendants of the Bounty mutineers were relocated from Pitcairn Island. In 1914, the UK handed Norfolk Island over to Australia to administer as an external territory. In 1979, Norfolk Island was granted limited self-government by Australia, under which the island elected a government that ran most of its affairs. In 2015, against the wishes of the Norfolk Island government, Australia announced comprehensive reforms for Norfolk Island, abolishing the island’s legislative assembly and replacing self-government with a local council. A majority of Norfolk Islanders objected to the Australian plan to make changes without first consulting them and allowing their say, with 68% of voters against forced changes. In a 2019 survey, 37% of residents preferred free association with New Zealand, 35% preferred free association with Australia, 25% preferred full independence, and 3% preferred full integration with Australia.

Norfolk Island Tiger Sharks: Norfolk Island has one of the largest populations of tiger sharks in the world. It developed a policy of culling growing cattle populations by killing older cattle and feeding the carcasses to tiger sharks well off the coast to help prevent tiger sharks from coming further toward shore in search of food. Australia banned the culling policy as cruelty to animals. Norfolk Islanders fear this will lead to increased shark attacks and damage an already waning tourist industry.

Native to Norfolk Island, the evergreen Norfolk Island pine is a key export for the island.


Norfolk Island’s government buildings are located in Kingston, but most of the economic impetus comes from Norfolk Island’s major settlement, Burnt Pine (shown).

Funafuti, Tuvalu: Tuvalu is a group of nine tiny islands in the South Pacific which won independence from the UK in 1978. Five of the islands are coral atolls, the other 4 consist of land rising from the sea bed. Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, all are low-lying, with no point on Tuvalu being higher than 15 feet above sea level. Local politicians have campaigned against climate change, arguing that the islands will be swamped by rising sea levels. The UN has classified the low-lying South Pacific island nation as extremely vulnerable to climate change. Life on the islands is simple and often harsh. There are no streams or rivers, so the collection of rain is essential. Coconut palms cover most of the islands, and copra (dried coconut kernel) is practically the only export commodity. Increasing salination of the soil threatens traditional subsistence farming. Tuvalu has shown ingenuity by exploiting another source of income. It has sold its internet suffix - .tv - to a Californian company for several million dollars a year in continuing revenue. The company sells the suffix to television broadcasters.

Tuvalu mangroves

Tuvalu's Foreign Minister Simon Kofe gives a climate statement while standing in the ocean in Funafuti, Tuvalu. Rising seas are on the verge of swallowing two of the tiny archipelago’s nine islands.

Wallis and Futuna has been a French overseas collectivity since 2003. It includes Wallis Island, Futuna Island, Alofi and 20 islets. Both island groups have fringing reefs and Wallis contains several prominent crater lakes. The population is indigenous Polynesian.

Lake Lalolalo, Wallis: one of the largest inland crater lakes in the Pacific region. Wallis and Futuna is a lower-middle-income, agrarian French dependency. A decline in population has created an aging workforce. Its economy is heavily reliant on French subsidies, fishing rights licenses to Japan and South Korea, and remittances from New Caledonia. It has limited economic diversification opportunities. The people of the territory have a subsistence economy … fishing and farming basic crops like coconuts, taro, mangoes, cassava, yams and sweet potatoes. The continued use of wood as the main fuel source has led to deforestation (only small portions of the original forests remain). As a consequence of cutting down the forests, the mountainous terrain of Futuna is particularly prone to erosion, and Wallis and Futuna have low soil quality, limiting agricultural productivity. Wallis and Futuna also lack natural freshwater resources.


Mata-Utu, Wallis and Futuna

Port Moresby (also known as Pom City),  Papua New Guinea

Lae, Papua New Guinea

Suva, Fiji

Honiara is the capital and largest city of Solomon Islands.

Kings Palace, Nuku'alofa, Tonga


Tamil, Gagil-Tamil Island, Federated States of Micronesia

Kastom, Tanna Island, Vanuatu

Navala, Viti Levu Island, Fiji

Hagalu Village, Tulagi Island, Solomon Islands


aerial view of Antarctica

Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica

Truly a river of ice, Antarctica's relatively fast-moving Byrd Glacier courses through the Transantarctic Mountains at a rate of 0.5 miles per year. More than 112 miles long, the glacier flows down from the polar plateau (left) to the Ross Ice Shelf (right) in this satellite image. Long, sweeping flow lines are crossed in places by much shorter lines, which are deep cracks in the ice, called crevasses. The red patches indicate areas of exposed rock. Main Points of the Antarctic Treaty The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell, in the Transantarctic Mountains, comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada Glacier and other smaller glaciers. Panorama of Ross Island showing the Hut Point Peninsula (foreground), Mount Erebus (left), and Mount Terror (right)


Larsen Ice Shelf

Many sub-glacial lakes are located in ice-stream onset zones as well as underneath slow-moving ice domes.

Antarctica, with cutaway showing ice sheet and bedrock

Antarctica’s sub-glacial topography, with main mountain ranges shown

Executive Committee Range volcanoes, including Mount Sidley

Starfish and a feather star sit on the bottom of McMurdo Sound.


Antarctica Overview Map

The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of valleys west of McMurdo Sound. They are so named because of their extremely low humidity and lack of snow and ice cover. At 1,900 sq miles, the valleys form the largest ice-free region in Antarctica.

A global view of the Antarctic: This image presents the entire Antarctic region, most of the Southern Ocean, large portions of the southern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as the island of Madagascar and southern Africa.

The food web in the Ross Sea

Antarctica Map

This whale dwarfs the ship from which it was slaughtered in the Southern Ocean, 1928.


Various climate change impacts on terrestrial biodiversity across Antarctica and how future habitat transformation may affect them

The Una Peaks at Cape Renard, formerly known as Cape Renard Towers, are two towers of basalt (volcanic rock) each topped by a cap of ice with the highest summit being  2,451 feet. The Peaks are at the northeast entrance to the Lemaire Channel on the Antarctic Peninsula. Lemaire Channel is often referred to as Kodak Alley due to its photogenic scenery.

folded rock layers

Members of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program collect a carbonaceous chondrite meteorite from the base of Mt. Ward, Antarctica. People in Antarctica wear brightly colored clothing so that it will be easier to find them in case of an emergency.


fossilized ripples from an ancient sea bed

McMurdo Station on Ross Island experiences 24 hours of darkness in the middle of winter. The lights from the largest research station in Antarctica illuminate Observation Hill just to the south of town.

A panoramic view of Deception Island, which is a volcanic caldera (a large depression formed when a volcano erupts and collapses), as seen from the southeast. A narrow inlet to the inner harbor of the island is visible. Deception Island is one of the South Shetland Islands, located to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The island was named by the first man to visit the place, Nathaniel Palmer, in 1820. Palmer was the first man to set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula and many adjacent islands. Originally a captain of a sealing ship who sailed to Antarctica in search of prolific sealing grounds, he later became a ship designer and was credited with designing the first clipper ship. He gave the island its name because of its deceptive appearance. When first seen from the ocean it looks like a typical island with no landing sites, but Palmer discovered that it actually has a narrow southeastern inlet that leads to internal harbors and possible landing sites. The island still is an active volcano, with the last eruption occurring in 1969. Because of this eruption, and one before it in 1967, the facilities there, a British scientific station, a British Customs House and airfield and hangar, and a Norwegian whaling station, all had to be permanently abandoned.

Southern Ocean biodiversity

Greater Antarctica’s high, ice-covered plateau is a vast, featureless ice sheet.

Antarctic Food Web


An iceberg trapped in sea ice in the Amundsen Sea

Antarctica flora and fauna

A Russian orthodox church sits on a small rise above Chile's Antarctic research base.








Copyright © 1996 Amy S Glenn
Last updated:   06/01/2024 0830

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