These shelves—the Ross Ice Shelf and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf—together with other shelves around the continental margins, fringe about 45 percent of Antarctica. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). That is warm water rises and cold water sinks, bringing nutrients with it across the levels of the water. Point your mental compass due South and test the extremes of your knowledge of Antarctica in this quiz. However, it’s the melting of the ice shelves that causes ocean levels to rise. In a strange case of geography, the Transantarctic Mountains divide the continent roughly along the Greenwich Meridian. It is the fifth-largest continent at 14,200,000 square kilometers (5,500,000 square miles). Surprisingly, there’s an international dialling code for Antarctica, which is +672. Mount Erebus stands on Antarctica’s Ross Island at 3.8 km high. They also say they expect the hole to close in full by 2070. Advances in radar technology since then have resulted in airborne radio-echo sounding systems that can measure ice-thickness, which has enabled scientific teams to make systematic remote surveys of ice-buried terrains. It was the name given to the Soviet program that put the first man in space, and to a Russian exploration ship in the early-19th century. Britain, France, and Norway, and both Australia and New Zealand own territories in Antarctica. In fact, Antarctica’s landscape is what’s called a polar desert. In fact, they’re also called Colossal Squid to set them apart. It’s also called the Southern Ocean, distinct from the oceans to the north. Scientists have special permits for drones to study the environment and even wildlife. History. The native fish of Antarctic have lived and thrived in its extreme sea temperatures of +2°C and -2°C for 5 million years! Satellites are the only reliable way to communicate to and from Antarctica. The History of Antarctica starts off with the European discoverers. Despite all that, life still found a way to survive in such a hard land. The continent is divided into East Antarctica (which is largely composed of a high ice-covered plateau) and West Antarctica (which is largely an ice sheet covering an archipelago of mountainous islands). They’re usually seen in high northern or low southern latitudes, but even so, they’re a rare sight in Antarctica. From a birth that's forever in the Guinness Book of Records and Tinder matches to barren valleys with highest … Here, water from the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans merge into one, surrounding the Antarctic continent. Aurora borealis, also known as northern or southern lights, appear as shimmering ribbons of light in the atmosphere. The lake itself has an area of 12,500 km², and a volume of 12,500 km³. The second reason is the way the Earth is positioned to the Sun. Doctor Rogozov not only managed to remove his appendix but recovered fully. Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot on Antarctica in 1935. Chile and Argentina also have claims on Antarctica. However, he was the only doctor in the station. It’s not a volcanic peak, but a mountain formed by deformation of the continental landmass from geological processes. The extreme cold also keeps other species like ants from ever surviving in Antarctica. Your email address will not be published. Antarctica has a surface area of over 14 million km². Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. This is the result of global warming, the heating of the planet as a whole by humans putting more and more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Captain Jorge Palma, led the Argentine Army detachment at Esperanza Base in Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula. Emperor Penguins are only the most well-known of their kind. No, it’s not the one that sank the Titanic. Science then replaced whaling and sealing as the primary year-round human activity in Antarctica. Here’s a particularly cool example of Antarctica facts: It even earned Metallica a world record as the only band to play in all 7 continents. Scientists attribute the strange color to the iron deposits underneath the lake, with flowing with the water. In contrast, Colossal Squid weighs at most 500 kg, though recovered beaks point to specimens of up to 600 kg. The flat and unbroken central region of the continent allows winds to reach high speeds over vast distances. Terra Australis instead gave Australia’s name, while Antarctica became the expected but undiscovered continent’s name. 80% of the Earth’s freshwater is in Antarctica’s ice. These are fishing and tourism, and both are heavily regulated. Pam Young, Jean Pearson, Lois Jones, Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay and Terry Tickhill became the first women to reach the south pole in 1969. Biologists study Antarctica’s unique biosphere with little to no signs of human interference. Animals with glycoproteins include the Antarctic eelpout, inland bacteria, and lichens. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The course runs for over 42 km across King George Island. As a result, Montreal Protocol banned the use of CFCs in 1987. Melting of ice sheets don’t add to ocean levels, as they’re already part of the global balance. You just have to know where to look, just like these Antarctica facts. Layers of snow added on top of the ice sheet every winter tell a lot about what happened during that year, including volcanic eruptions, weather patterns, and even asteroid impacts. The name entered formal use in the 1890s, through the Scottish mapmaker John Bartholomew. As a result, Rogozov had to do surgery on himself, with only limited anesthesia. Starting from the incredibly drawn natural glaciers, largest icebergs, and uniquely created residential areas, this country is full of some exciting places and facts which can leave the person in complete shock. Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. Geologists collect evidence and piece together Antarctica’s history from today back to when it was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. Due to wind direction, most of the CFCs ended up over Antarctica, where the hole opened up. It is also the world’s highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent. The continental ice sheet contains approximately 7 million cubic miles (about 29 million cubic km) of ice, representing about 90 percent of the world’s ice and 80 percent of its fresh water. Your email address will not be published. Omissions? On other continents, warm and moist conditions easily weather landing meteorites. Between 1912 and 1913, scientists recorded the wind speed at Cape Denison station - the fastest recorded speed that year was 95mph (153km/h). Antarctica is one of the harshest places on Earth. 2. 12 nations implemented the Antarctic Treaty System on June 23, 1961. The southernmost parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans converge into a cold oceanic water mass with unique biological and physical characteristics. Also, it is considered that once Antarctica is as warm as modern California. Roald Amundsen became the first man to reach the geographic south pole on December 14, 1911. For legal purposes of the Antarctic Treaty, the arbitrary boundary of latitude 60° S is used, south of which lies the Antarctic Treaty Area. Wisdom teeth removal depends on whether or not the dentist prescribes it. The exploitation of these resources is not allowed under the Antarctic Treaty, but it is set to expire in 2048. While they both have a maximum length of about 10 meters, Colossal Squid can get heavier. Over the course of summer and winter, melting and freezing ice removes and adds over 30 million km² to Antarctica. No lands break the relentless force of the prevailing west winds as they race clockwise around the continent, dragging westerly ocean currents along beneath. As of 2018, four small icebergs remain of Iceberg B-15 in the South Atlantic. Nicholas Clinch led the first men up the mountain to its peak in 1966. Now that’s one for cool Antarctica facts. For comparison, Antarctica is roughly the size of the United States and Mexico combined or about 1.3 times as large as Europe. Antarctica is the windiest place on the earth where windspeed of more than 350 kilometres per hour/218 miles per hour have been measured. They knew about the Arctic – named Arktos – The Bear, from the constellation the great bear, and decided that in order to balance the world there should be a similar cold southern land mass that was the same but the opposite “Ant - Arktos” - opposite The Bear. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The Vernadsky Research Station also houses the southernmost bar on Earth. How’s that for cool Antarctica facts? Geographers mark the 60th Parallel as the Southern Ocean’s northern boundary, with its opposite being the Antarctic coast. It might come as a disappointment, but that’s a definite example of Antarctica facts. 10 Fun Facts About Antarctica November 26, 2012. Antarctica is the only continent with no native species of ants. Personal communications are the lowest priority, with people sometimes only getting as little as 10 minutes to access the network. This higher elevation is partly due to the fact that most of Antarctica is in the east. A subsequent treaty, called the Madrid Protocol (adopted in 1991) prohibited mining, required evironmental impact assessments for new activities, and designated the continent as a natural reserve. Department of Philosophy and History of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. There are 70 research stations in Antarctica. With such low humidity and moisture on this portion of the continent, snow and ice cannot even accumulate, which leaves the valleys as just a dusty expanse of dirt. The name goes back to ancient times when scholars theorized about a continent south of Africa and Asia. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Map of Antarctica highlighting the major geographic regions, ice sheets, and sites of several research stations. These two settlements developed around permanent research stations on the continent. East and West Antarctica are separated by the approximately 2,100-mile- (about 3,400-km-) long Transantarctic Mountains. It is also the world’s highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent. However, the Grand Canyon is 1.9 km deep, while the West Antarctic Rift is only 1.5 km deep. In 2003, marine biologist Kirsty Brown died after getting attacked by a Leopard Seal in Antarctica. Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. NASA scientists snapped this pristine shot while flying over Antarctica in December 2012. The “Antarctic Treaty” signed in 1961 stipulates that no country may exploit Antarctica economically or use it militarily. It’s also the name of a Russian research station in East Antarctica, which stands on the ice above Lake Vostok. Iceberg B-15 broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000 and drifted north into the Atlantic Ocean. However, Antarctica is cold and dry, with little to no liquid water and life present. Definitely one of the more mind-boggling Antarctica facts. Ice shelves, or ice sheets floating on the sea, cover many parts of the Ross and Weddell seas. Despite all that, life still found a way to survive in such a hard land. The term Antarctic region refers to all area—oceanic, island, and continental—lying in the cold Antarctic climatic zone south of the Antarctic Convergence, an important boundary around 55° S, with little seasonal variability, where warm subtropical waters meet and mix with cold polar waters (see also polar ecosystem). It sits on the very bottom of the globe, as far south as anyone can go. The most common animal in Antarctica are Nematodes or roundworms. Read also: Best 20 Facts about Asia History Landscape Cities More. Other scientists even hold classes for their specific fields of science to scientists from other fields. Antarctica is seriously dry: The dry valleys of Antarctica make up the driest place on Earth. Definitely one of the more alarming Antarctica facts. Until the 1970s, scientists relied on ground-based geophysical techniques such as seismic surveys of the Antarctic ice sheets to reveal hidden mountain ranges and peaks. There are also known deposits of other metals like platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, and even gold. Their jaws make up a quarter of their body, with well-developed teeth pointing to them being carnivores. Astronomy research in Antarctica studies both the visible universe, and the unobserved one. They’re called the Eulagisca gigantea, or the Antarctic Scale Worm. It is so dry there is extremely low humidity and almost no snow or ice cover. Even doctors do research in Antarctica, such as how viruses work and how the human body adapts to such a harsh environment. The ice-choked and stormy seas around Antarctica long hindered exploration by wooden-hulled ships. This is then studied under a microscope. The largest of these fragments was Iceberg B-15A, with an area of 6,400 km². There aren’t any grass, trees or similar plant life in Antarctica. There aren’t any grass, trees or similar plant life in Antarctica. When there’s not enough water for them to live, the nematodes freeze themselves. The Argentinian government sent Emilio’s mother when she was 7 months pregnant to complete her pregnancy in Antarctica. The familiar map boundaries of the continent known as Antarctica, defined as the South Polar landmass and all its nonfloating grounded ice, are subject to change with current and future climate change. Antarctica History. Bet you didn’t expect that from Antarctica facts? Antarctica Facts and Pictures Cool Fun Facts on the Antarctic and South Pole 1/ If Antarctica's ice sheets melted, all of the worlds oceans would rise by 60 to 65 meters (200 - 210ft) - everywhere. Although legend had told of a vast southern land referred to as Terra Australis since the 1st century AD, the first sighting of Antarctica is invariably attributed to Imperial Russian Navy captain Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen in 1820, with Captain James Cook having missing the continent by only 75 miles in 1773. 2) Is Antarctica a continent? Antarctica holds most of the world’s fresh water An incredible 60-90% of the world’s fresh water is locked in Antarctica’s vast ice sheet. 30 other research stations only operate in the summer. Fishing, is only allowed offshore, and fish farms are not allowed on Antarctica itself. 19. That increase is enough to cause the permanent flooding of low-lying places such as New Orleans and the surrounding Mississippi River Delta. 50 Amazing Facts About Antarctica. It’s called the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, flowing from west to east around the continent. Study also shows that while the glacier has existed for around 400,000 years, the lake is older. Usually, they take the time for personal study, like learning new languages. There is some truth to the urban legend, since doctors need to get their appendix removed before getting posted to Antarctica. Everything to the west of the Weddell Sea but east of the Ross Sea is West Antarctica. The ice on Antarctica isn’t smooth and uniform no matter what your eyes tell you. The reasons are the same as ants. 20. At least 17 other species of penguins live in Antarctica, including King Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins, and the Adélie penguin. 50 Snow Leopard Facts About The Ghost Of The Mountains, 50 Interesting South Africa Facts About The Rainbow Nation, Earth’s crust is divided into a series of plates, 100 Interesting Facts That Will Boggle Your Mind, 300 Random Facts No One Knows What To Do With, 100 Nutrition Facts To An Easier And Healthier Lifestyle, 100 Amazing Facts That Will Blow Your Mind, 300 WTF Facts That Will Make You Question Everything, 300 Weird Facts That Will Confuse And Amaze You At The Same Time, 100 Did You Know Facts Most People Have Never Heard About. Does it have mountains? The increase in UV radiation caused cancer rates to spike. Both have a permanent population of less than a hundred people. Scientists also say there may be lakes they haven’t discovered yet under all the ice. 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