Fact Check: Inauthentic Photo Does NOT Show Real 'Ice Wall' In Antarctica Or Actual City Beyond It

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich
Fact Check: Inauthentic Photo Does NOT Show Real 'Ice Wall' In Antarctica Or Actual City Beyond It AI-Generated

Does a "leaked photo" authentically show a "city on the other side of the ice at Antarctica," as a post on Facebook claimed? No, that's not true: The image was created using artificial intelligence, based on the results of three image analysis tools used by Lead Stories. Many conspiracy theorists use the ice wall argument to make unfounded arguments, such as that the Earth is flat. Also, an expert told Lead Stories that claims involving supposed ice walls are hoaxes.

The claim appeared in an image on Facebook on April 7, 2024, with a caption that read:

I managed to get my hands on this leaked photo showing a city on the other side of the ice at Antarctica. This and many other lands exist and they keep all info about these places from us. Why?

#antarctica #icewall #misterseventysix #19seventy7six6 #19seventy7six6_designs #conspiracy #hiddenhistory #truth

This is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 10.50.18 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken Thu June 13 10:50:18 2024 UTC)

Thomas Grenfell (archived here), a research professor emeritus at the University of Washington with expertise in sea ice, told Lead Stories that the post is a "hoax."

"Antarctica has been completely mapped in fine detail via international cooperation and is surveyed on a regular basis by satellites. Any city or wall would have been detected long ago. AI can easily build you a pretty picture of whatever you imagine," Grenfell told Lead Stories in an email received on June 13, 2025.

To check the image's authenticity, Lead Stories ran it through three online tools -- Hive Moderation, AI or NOT and Is It AI? -- used to check whether photos or illustrations have been altered or generated by artificial intelligence (AI). The results for each tool are below:

Hive Moderation

The tool on the Hive Moderation website said the image is 99.7 percent "likely to contain AI-generated or deepfake content":

Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 8.47.02 AM.png

(Source: Hive Moderation screenshot taken Thu June 13 13:47:02 2024 UTC)

AI or NOT

The tool on AI or NOT said the image was "Likely AI generated":

Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 8.57.08 AM.png

(Source: AI or Not screenshot taken Thu June 13 13:57:08 2024 UTC)

Is It AI?

The tool on Is It AI? said there was a 53.29 percent chance the image was created using AI.

Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 8.59.15 AM.png

(Source: Is It AI? screenshot taken Thu June 13:59:15 2024 UTC)

Conspiracy theorists often argue that an Antarctic ice wall surrounds a flat Earth. Science, however, has repeatedly (archived here) shown (archive here) that our planet is indeed spherical.

Of seven continents on Earth, Antarctica is the southernmost and fifth largest. With an area of more than 5.4 million square miles, 99.6 percent of its surface area is covered by frozen water, according to the American Museum of Natural History (archive here). Both privately (archived here) and publicly (archived here) curated satellite imagery show that Antarctica is a largely barren island continent void of any "city."

The American Polar Society writes (archived here) that Western culture has been exploring Antarctica since at least 1768. However, there is no record of a massive "ice wall" or "city on the other side of it."

"There are lots of ice cliffs (walls) at the edge of the continent where the ice sheet breaks off into the ocean, but they don't last very long," Grenfell told Lead Stories.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to Antarctica can be read here.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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