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National Geographic Photographers: The Best Job in the World Facts

A leopard seal bares teeth in a threat display to protect her kill.

A leopard seal bares teeth in a threat display to protect her kill. (View larger version)

Photograph by Paul Nicklen/ National Geographic Stock

  • The Antarctic ice sheet holds 90% of the world's ice and is on average, 6,500 feet deep.

  • Only about one percent of Antarctica's total land mass is visible, that is, not covered by ice.

  • A katabatic wind is wind that descends down a slope as it cools. In Antarctica these winds come down from mountains and ice caps.

  • Winds in Antarctica are known to reach 200 mph. That's equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.

  • The mountain peaks of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica reach elevations of over 11,800 feet.

  • Around 6 million square miles of sea ice form and melt around Antarctica each year, causing the size of the continent's ice cap to more than double every winter.

  • A portaledge is a collapsible cot used by climbers to allow them to have a place to sleep when a climb takes multiple days. They were first designed in 1972.

  • Cory Richards and his team brought two thousand pounds of gear with them to Antarctica for their expedition. On some domestic flights this would cost around $4000 in overweight baggage fees.

  • During the flight from Cape Town to Novo Base in Antarctica, the Russian Ilyushin IL-76 that Cory Richards and his time traveled aboard must pass a point of no return, where the plane must either complete the flight to Antarctica or run out of fuel.

  • Queen Maud Land is named after a Norwegian queen from the early twentieth century. Norway claimed the area in 1939, a year after her death.

  • National Geographic Magazine was first published in 1888, and published its first photograph from the field in 1890. The photo was of Herald Island in the Chukchi Sea in between Russia and Alaska.

  • The iconic yellow rectangle has been the official trademark of National Geographic since 1970. It's derived from the border of the Magazine, where it has been on the cover in some fashion since 1910.

  • In 1965, National Geographic aired its first television special, "Americans on Everest", in an attempt to bring the world to a broader audience.

  • The first all-color issue of National Geographic Magazine was published in February of 1962.

  • The July 1906 issue of National Geographic Magazine showed the beginnings of a long relationship. In it was published a series of 74 wildlife photographs.