Antarctica How to Open Up the Coldest Cache

A new treaty provides for the continent's development

Is Antarctica a frozen trove of natural resources? Scientists first saw evidence 15 years ago that there might be oil beneath the area's coastal waters, and some geologists believe any such deposits could be the world's last untapped "elephants," as huge fields are called. Yet no provision existed to regulate exploration for petroleum or for anything else in Antarctica, a continent that has been run more or less by multinational committee since 1959. Now representatives of 33 nations have finally agreed on a treaty to govern development of all natural wealth on -- and under -- the southern land mass. Says...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

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