Environment: Stains on The White Continent

A disastrous oil spill stirs fears about Antarctica's future

On the once pristine shores of the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands, a vast oil slick has become a tide of death. The spreading film has killed thousands of krill, the tiny shrimplike crustaceans that are a major food source for fish, birds and whales. Oil-soaked penguins are in danger of freezing to death, and nearly all of the skua chicks have died.

As teams of divers from the U.S. and South America struggled last week to plug a hole in the Argentine ship Bahia Paraiso, which had sunk and was leaking 3,000 gal. of fuel a day, squadrons of scientists...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!