Old Earth's southernmost continent. Formerly part of Gondwana, and forested, it had been ice-covered for over 15 million years by the dawn of the human era. Because of its small size and its extremely cold climate it contained no permanent human habitation for most of history, except for a brief period during the Information to Interplanetary Ages when a warming climate, new resource extraction technologies, and a decline in the power of the nation-states that had agreed to set it aside from human exploitation led to some economic development. In the Nanotech Age in the decades prior to the Nanoswarms, there was a much larger influx of persons, mostly Backyarders, but the Nanoswarms, and later GAIA, put a stop to immigration. Since the Great Expulsion the continent has been returned to its icy pristine state, complete with its original biota. The Children of GAIA do not allow any visitors to any portion of it at any time and this prohibition has spawned a number of rumours about what sophonts, if any, dwell there and what their activities might be.

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Text by Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 20 June 2010.