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West Antarctica

This place used to be desolate, now it's the heartbeat of civilisation
  West Antarctica is a temperate continent at the South Pole. It was previously covered with a large ice sheet, but this has since melted to reveal the landscape beneath. In 2069, an alien race known as the Keln invaded Earth and conquered the region.   At the same time as the invasion, climate change was having devastating effects on Earth. This area is one of the few suitable places for humans to live and its capital city Berkner has developed into a sprawling metropolis. West Antarctica is now the most populated continent on Earth, far surpassing the other habitable locations of Northern Canada, Europe and New Zealand.

Geography

West Antarctica is far more than the desolate expanse of ice that it once was. As the ice sheet eventually melted, it revealed a complex landscape of mountains, gorges and rolling hills. The majority of West Antarctica is rocky and mountainous, making it difficult to build on. The urban area of West Antarctica is mostly within the flatter land, as it is easier to build on and closer to the sea.   It lies amidst the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea, both of which were originally mostly ice shelves. It also borders the Transantarctic mountains, which separate the continent from Eastern Antarctica - which remains quite icy despite the climate change.  
West Antarctica
Current Map of Habitable Zone 4
 

Regions

Palmer

Palmer is the southern half of the Antarctic Peninsula. It's the land closest to sea level, with some mountainous terrain to the centre. It contains the Elban Peaks and the Alderban rock. Palmer was named after Captain Nathaniel B.Palmer - who explored the area in 1820.  

Graham

Graham is the northern half of the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains a series of plateaus and a mountain - Mount Brading. Graham was one of the few areas to not have any ice on it prior to the melting of the ice sheet. It contains a few scientific bases from the past. Graham was named after Sir James R. G. Graham - First Lord of the Admiralty when John Biscoe was exploring the area in 1832.  

Ellsworth

Ellsworth is the area of land in the upper half of West Antarctica. It was named after the polar explorer Lincoln Ellsworth, who flew over the area in 1935 and discovered the Ellsworth mountains.  

Marie Byrd

Marie Byrd is the largest region in West Antarctica. It is located in the southern half of the continent and has the most mountainous terrain in the continent. It was named after the wife of Admiral Richard E. Byrd - who explored the area.  

Transantarctic Mountains

The Transantarctic Mountains are what separates West Antarctica from East Antarctica. It is one of the longest mountain ranges on Earth with a length of 3500km. Its highest point is Mount Kirkpatrick at 4,528 m. They were first sighted by James Clark Ross in 1841.  

Fauna & Flora

There is not much natural flora or fauna in West Antarctica at the moment.   It was previously inhabited by several types of penguin, such as the Emperor and Rockhopper, as well as a few types of birds - such as the Snow Petrel. Alongside this, there were also several microscopic creatures that used to live in the area - such as nematodes and tardigrades. The significant climate change has turned all of this on its head. The populations of the penguins and snow petrels are now rapidly decreasing as they struggle to adapt to the changing temperatures.   But, new types of fauna are being introduced. The first colonisers that were sent to begin the construction of Berkner brought several types of animal with them in the hopes that they would survive in the now warmer climate.

Natural Resources

The largest downside to the development of West Antarctica is the sheer lack of resources. There is a small amount of minerals, such as coal, iron ore and gold, but these are in quantities too small to bother extracting. There is also several large oil deposits, but these have proven difficult to extract due to the lack of tools available.   The only major resource that can be found is ice. The ice that remains on the continent makes up a vast deposit of freshwater, perfect for supplying the water demands of the cities in West Antarctica.   However, as part of the colonisation process, a large amount of agricultural land was designated. There are now the beginnings of expansive farms in the area, growing enough crops to feed the population of West Antarctica. Farm animals were also brought along to the area, such as cows and pigs. Finally, there are fairly large amounts of fish to be caught off the coast on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Maps

  • West Antarctica
    Current Map of Habitable Zone 4
Alternative Name(s)
Habitable Zone 4
Type
Continent
Included Locations






































































Rockhopper Penguin
Snow Petrel

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Comments

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26 Aug, 2018 20:43

I haven't seen a setting in West Antarctica before, very cool! What do the local people eat to survive, and how is it sustainable?

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
26 Aug, 2018 20:49

Thanks! Climate change had a great effect on the area, so animals such as cows and pigs can easily survive in the area. There is also a lot of fish to eat, as it's near the ocean. Water is obtained either from lakes uncovered by the ice melting, or from the deposits of ice that can be found in East Antarctica.

26 Aug, 2018 20:54

That's awesome. You know, I've never looked but are there maps of what solid land there is under the shelf? In Consternation are there still areas with ice shelf or is it all gone?   It would be really cool to see another layer on your map which shows the historical state of the area so us modern readers can appreciate how much the ice has receded.

Admin of the WA Codex & Discord

Ethnis | Ko-Fi | Twitter

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
26 Aug, 2018 20:57

In Consternation, the ice sheets are entirely gone. The best map of what's under the ice is one compiled by British Antarctic Survey (https://goo.gl/C3KXnk)   That's a good idea about the layer, I'll look into it - thanks

AshWolf Forever
Ashleigh D.J. Cutler
26 Aug, 2018 20:45

Okay I know I said in the channel I didn't have much to say beyond well done. But I love the way you've laid this out and the thought you clearly put into it. Also, the impressive use of the map layers. Also, your choice of theme really fits such a cold climate.

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
26 Aug, 2018 20:49

Thank you! That means a lot

AshWolf Forever
Ashleigh D.J. Cutler
26 Aug, 2018 21:47

You're quite welcome. I might have missed it. Do the people here keep any pets? You mention the settlers bringing animals, were they all solely for logical purposes like food and fur?

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
26 Aug, 2018 21:48

It's not something I've considered, but I imagine some settlers would probably bring a few furry friends with them!

AshWolf Forever
Ashleigh D.J. Cutler
26 Aug, 2018 21:58

I wonder what the animals' reaction was to the different climate? I read a couple of stories years ago where a dog moved to Alaska and he pretty much thought his owner lost his mind. *snickers* Still, furry friends are comforting for sure.

Ixian
Ixian Technocrat
26 Aug, 2018 22:03

Winters are still probably very cold ... and dark. What do they use for energy? They'd need a lot of it for heating and lighting.

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
27 Aug, 2018 09:10

They use solar panels and tidal energy to produce electricity and power their cities

Ixian
Ixian Technocrat
27 Aug, 2018 11:01

There is no sun in the middle of the winter, and very little of it for half a year. Also, tides in Antarctica are some of the lowest in the oceans, due to the fact that there are no landmasses to "squish" the waters like the Atlantic Ocean being between the Old and New World. The average tide difference in Antarctica is 1 meter between highest and lowest point, compared to the UK which has tide differences of 6 meters. Sources: http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/ntc/ant_tide_tables.shtml https://www.tidetimes.co.uk/liverpool-gladstone-dock-tide-times   Since they already developed Fusion Energy, why not use that instead as their main source?

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
27 Aug, 2018 21:32

Perhaps. I'll admit you've done more research into the matter than I have, I'll look into it and include it in a future article.

26 Aug, 2018 23:30

West Antarctica post melt is great. I feel one thing I'd like to know from this article is what's happened to any previous outposts or research bases in this area. That could help ground it in the real world too. Perhaps a description of how the cities developed if there is no real resource to be found here...

GorgeFodder - Former Forge Father & Former Community Director of World Anvil
artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
27 Aug, 2018 09:11

Thanks! I'll look into Antarctic Bases and include them, that's a good idea. I'll be describing the development of the cities in another article in the near future.

Gerrit_Dodd
Gerrit Dodd
27 Aug, 2018 02:26

The setting is awesome, but I'd love to see more representation on the maps of the terrain of the newly revealed continent, as well as maybe some more context in the article for outside events to give new readers a better frame of reference of the larger setting. A line in particular comes to mind for this, "...because Northern Canada and Russia are still recovering from the effects of the invasion..."

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
27 Aug, 2018 09:12

Thanks! I'll look into including a terrain map and I'll include more context about the setting

27 Aug, 2018 03:08

A very well written piece. The aspect I most enjoy about your article is the detail of the naming conventions for the various regions; taking care to include something that might seem so minor gives your world a sense of place and realism. We often take those kinds of naming conventions for granted in our society, failing to understand how grounded it makes our world. We casually use such names, not realizing that is belongs to an actual person in history who discovered or built the place in which we currently live. Your world feels like it has believable and established history. If I had to critique anything, I would suggest going into more geographically detail. Antarctica is such an alien place to our society because of it's current climate, and many people try to imagine what the heck is under all that snow and ice. You've gone and melted the ice, so take advantage of your readers' inevitable curiosity and really go in depth with what you imagine a more temperate, populated Antarctica would look like. As for a question, the thing I'm most curious about is why the other half of the continent remains frozen despite the climate change? Is that the result of natural factors, or something more synthetic?

artificial_infinity
artificial_infinity
27 Aug, 2018 09:16

Thank you! I plan to include some more geographical information in the future. As for the question about East Antarctica, the ice sheet is far thicker there and hasn't yet melted.