Interesting Facts About Antarctica

Sunday, May 25, 2008

  • Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth, as the lowest temperature recorded here was -89o C. On an average, it is 17 degrees colder than Arctic in the north.

  • It is the driest continent on earth, as it hardly receives 2 inches of rainfall annually. The ‘Dry valley’ region on the continent is supposed to be bereft of rainfall since 2 million years.

  • The continent of Antarctica is buried under 1 mile of ice sheet and snow. If the ice melts, the continent would spring back 500 m, in around 1000 years.

  • If Antarctica's ice sheets melt, the level of the world’s oceans would rise by 60 to 65 meters (200 - 210 ft).

  • Antarctica is the ideal place to find meteorites, as they are easily visible on the white sheets of ice. They do not get covered by vegetation and even get trapped into the ice.

  • Antarctica is one and a half times the size of United States.

  • At the deepest point, the ice in Antarctica is around 3 - 4 km thick.

  • The largest animal living on the continent is midge, which measure less than a half inch long.

  • Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. It experiences frequent wind storms, which at times speed over 300 knots at the sea coast.

  • The water of the Antarctica is so cold that nothing can rot here.

  • Owing to the chilly water in Antarctica, codfish have antifreeze in their blood to save them from freezing.

  • The ice cap at Antarctic contains 29 million cubic kilometers of ice. This constitutes nearly 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 - 70% of all of the fresh water in the world.

  • Only 0.4 percent of Antarctica is not covered by ice.

  • Antarctica is the highest continent in elevation.


  • Snow and ice cover almost the entirety of the continent. It is estimated that the level of the sea would rise by as much as 200 feet if all the ice in Antarctica were to melt.

  • The ice stretches across right up to the ocean, where it is called an Ice Shelf. The Ross Ice Shelf, which is the largest sized ice shelf, covers 208,000 square miles, is larger in size than Texas.

  • The falling snow is what forms the ice, since it does not melt when it falls. And every year, as more snow collects, the snow below gets compressed into ice. It is said that 70 percent of the Earth’s fresh water is contained in the ice of Antarctica.

  • Antarctica is the driest, windiest, and coldest continent. The lowest recorded temperature in the world, -128 degrees F, was in Antarctica at the Russian Vostok Station.

  • Antarctica is divided into two areas, East Antarctica and West Antarctica. East Antarctica, covering 7,770,000 sq km, which is the largest part of the continent, is a high plateau, covered with ice. West Antarctica, covering 6,475,000 sq km, comprises of an archipelago made up of mountainous islands, each of which are connected by ice. The two parts of the continent are divided by a mountain range.

  • Antarctica has two active volcanoes, which are known. There could be more, however, these are the only two that have their peaks above the surface of the ice. Mount Erebus is the highest of them, which is located on the Ross Ice Shelf, in East Antarctica.

  • There is very limited plant life in Antarctica, consisting mostly of moss and lichen, as well as some floating plants in the seas inland. The mite is the largest land living animal of Antarctica, being just big enough to be seen without using a microscope. It manages to survive by producing chemicals that are akin to the anti-freeze used in cars in the winter.

  • Comprising of 80 percent of the bird population, penguins are the most common birds in Antarctica. While some of them live on land, others live on the ice floes. The Emperor penguin, for instance, never comes into the land, spending almost its whole life out in the ocean. The female Emperor lays her eggs on ice floes, where they are incubated by the male.

  • The marine mammals that exist in Antarctica mostly comprise of seals and whales, with the tooth whale and the baleen whale being the two chief types of whales. The sperm whale and the killer whale are the two types of tooth whales, while the baleen whales are blue whales, humpback whales, and occasionally minke whales.

  • Antarctica has no native or indigenous population. However, these days, a few thousand people live there in the summer in weather and research stations. Only a few scientists stay back for the winter there.

  • Antarctica is considered to be the best laboratory on Earth, and scientists from all parts of the world converge here to study various things, such as: what consequences climate change will have on Earth; the unique organisms that inhabit this unspoiled ecosystem; and clues about the universe’s origins.

  • If Antarctica's ice sheets melted, every one of the worlds oceans would rise by 60 to 65 metres

  • Antarctica is pushed into the earth by the weight of its ice sheets. If they melted, it would "spring back" about 500m (1 625 ft). Scotland and Scandinavia are still rebounding today after the last ice age - at the rate of half a meter a century in the Northern Baltic - the fastest place.

  • The cold and dry conditions in the "Dry Valleys" region of Antarctica are so close to those on Mars that NASA did testing there for the Viking mission. It has not rained in the dry valleys for at least 2 million years.

  • One of the biggest icebergs ever (maybe the biggest) broke free from the Ross ice shelf in Antarctica in 2000.It was 295km long and 37km wide, with a surface area of 11,000 sq km (4,250 square miles) above water - and 10 times bigger below. Its size is equivalent to that of the Bahamas, or Connecticut.

  • During the feeding season in Antarctica, a full grown blue whale eats about 4 million krill (shrimp-like creatures) per day , that's 4 tons - every day for 6 months. What they eat daily would feed a human for 4 years!

  • Antarctic fish have lived at between +2°C and -2°C for 5 million years (-2°C is the freezing point of sea water, below zero because of the salt).

  • The freezer at your house runs at about -20°C. The mean summer temperature on the great East Antarctica icecap is -30°C and mean winter temperature around -60°C. The lowest ever temperature recorded was at the Russian Vostok station: - 89.6°C

  • When the Antarctic sea-ice begins to expand at the beginning of winter, it advances by around 40,000 square miles (100,000 square kilometres) per day, and eventually doubles the size of Antarctica, adding up to an extra 20 million square kilometres of ice around the land mass. That's 1.5 USA's, 2 Australia's or 50 UK's worth of ice.

  • Snow falling at the South Pole takes about 100 000 years to "flow" to the coast of Antarctica before it drops off the end as part of an iceberg.

  • The Antarctic ice cap has 29 million cubic kilometres of ice. This is 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 and 70 % of all of the world's fresh water. Only about 0.4 percent of Antarctica is not covered by ice.

  • Antarctica has a peculiar group of fish called the ice fish. These have no haemoglobin. The temperature is very low and oxygen dissolves better in cold temperatures, so there's no need. They just have a larger volume of clear blood instead and this gives them an unusually ghostly white color, particularly their gills. They have antifreeze in their blood so they don't accidentally get frozen solid!

  • The largest land animal in Antarctica is an insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, less than 1.3cm long.

  • Samples of ice known as ice cores are regularly drilled through the ice in Antarctica by scientists. They are removed as a long cylinder of ice that gives an indication of the past going back tens of thousands of years. The properties of the ice, of dust trapped in the ice, and even of air bubbles trapped in the ice give valuable information about the earth's climate at various times in the past. Now you know exactly where you can get a drink of water that was frozen during the life of Christ.

  • Antarctica is the coldest and windiest of all the continents.

  • To the surprise of many, Antarctica is also the driest of all the continents receiving a mere sprinkling of rain and snow once or twice a year.

  • 3. Antarctica gets its name from the Greek language. In a bit of deviousness, the term because it means opposite the Arctic.

  • The continent was discovered in 1820 by a Russian expedition, but was not further explored to any serious extent for another 100 years.

  • No permanent human residents are known to have ever lived on the continent and even today only temporary scientific communities exist.

  • 6. Antarctica, not the Sahara Desert, is technically the biggest desert in the world, but the desert is ice instead of snow.

  • 7. The ice sheet covering the continent is approximately 1.6 miles thick on average and holds 90 percent of the fresh water on the planet in the form of ice.

  • The ice sheet was melting dramatically. In 2002, over 1,000 square miles broke off the continent. In recent years, unusual amounts of snow fall have resulted in a thickening of the ice contrary to global warming concerns.

  • The continent is the only natural habitat of the Emperor Penguin, immortalized in the movie March of the Penguins. The penguin, however, also is found on the shoreline of some southern continents from time to time.

  • The continent has no government and is not owned by any country. Many countries have claimed the continent at one time or another. Currently, a treaty exists that grants the continent its independence from any such claims.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

cool

Anonymous said...

nice facts, you should stop repeating your facts though.

Anonymous said...

absolutey "lovley"
yeh bro u did repeat urself.....just a tad bit.
hey cud u do sum facts on chile
thx mate
yeh bro i luv u too

Anonymous said...

this really helped me with my homework.

Anonymous said...

thanks this helped me

anonymus said...

thanks

Anonymous said...

thnx i got my geography homework done

Anonymous said...

thanks

Anonymous said...

Thnx! i got my homework finnished :D

Anonymous said...

thanz u've done a great job although u did repeat some of the facts....lolxx!!

Anonymous said...

thanks got my homework done but you should stop reapeating yourself :)

Anonymous said...

THIS REALLY helped with my homework thanxs xx

Anonymous said...

cool #yolo

Anonymous said...


I am going to use these facts for my homework, although you should stop repeating some of the facts.

Anonymous said...

this really helped with my home work thanks!!! i got a A+

Anonymous said...

YAY! u guyz r the best! this helped me heaps with my homework. im gonna get a A+ for this! thanks. =]

Anonymous said...

thank you so much hun! homework is now done!

samro said...

thanks this really helped me with my homework.lov u!!!!!!o

Bob The 21st said...

This helped me a lot with my homework, but stop repeating your facts to make it longer.

Anonymous said...

this helped a lot

Anonymous said...

this helped a lot with my homework

Anonymous said...

this is really good for homework