Orbital View: Braided Clouds

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

That caption pretty much says it all, but here are some great aerial views of a cloudless Mawson Peak shortly after a lava flow. Heard Island is considered part of a “world heritage place”—by the Australian government itself, but still:

The Australian Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) is one of the wildest places on earth—a smoking volcano under snow and glacial ice that rises above the world’s stormiest waters. HIMI is the only sub-Antarctic island group that has an intact ecosystem, to which no known species has been introduced directly by humans, and where the ongoing evolution of plants and animals occurs in a natural state.