In fact, the waters of the Antarctic continent teem with life. Melting of ice sheets don’t add to ocean levels, as they’re already part of the global balance. Animals with glycoproteins include the Antarctic eelpout, inland bacteria, and lichens. Scientists also say there may be lakes they haven’t discovered yet under all the ice. There are plenty of interesting facts about the southernmost continent. This treaty, which was an unprecedented landmark in diplomacy, preserves the continent for nonmilitary scientific pursuits and placed Antarctica under an international regime that, for the treaty’s duration, holds all territorial claims in place. 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. From the late 18th to the mid-20th century, whalers and sealers plied the rich seas that surround the continent. Icebreakers and aircraft now make access relatively easy, although still not without hazard in inclement conditions. All sightings are of the Antarctic Peninsula, the most northerly region of Antarctica. The Vernadsky Research Station also houses the southernmost bar on Earth. Antarctica is one of the harshest places on Earth. The other is Villa Las Estrellas on King George Island, founded by Chile. It starts and finishes at Bellingshausen Station, and runs past Artigas, Frei, and Great Wall Bases. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources, and isolation. At least 17 other species of penguins live in Antarctica, including King Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins, and the Adélie penguin. Both have a permanent population of less than a hundred people. 3. The first confirmed sighting of the continent was in 1820. Ships use this current to move faster when going in the same direction. 19. Scientists today are still unsure as to the worms’ diet. The Norwegian-Swedish whaling ship the Antarctic made the first landing on Antarctica in 1895. Study also shows that while the glacier has existed for around 400,000 years, the lake is older. 1821 February the 7th. In 1599, Dutchman Dirck Gerritsz described land in the vicinity of the South Shetland Islands, and through the 1600s Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English and French navigators penetrated south of Cape Horn. Geographers mark the 60th Parallel as the Southern Ocean’s northern boundary, with its opposite being the Antarctic coast. Research data and other official communications are priorities for the network. 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). Early penetration of this Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean in the search for fur seals led in 1820 to the discovery of the continent. 25+ Amazing Antarctica Facts For Kids. Knowledge about Antarctica has increased greatly since the IGY. They did this in hopes of claiming Antarctic soil as their territory. Antarctica’s clear atmosphere is well-suited for the study of background cosmic radiation and is home to the largest neutrino telescope in the world. In a strange case of geography, the Transantarctic Mountains divide the continent roughly along the Greenwich Meridian. Antarctica Ecology Facts Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and brightest of the seven continents. From a birth that's forever in the Guinness Book of Records and Tinder matches to barren valleys with highest … East Antarctica lies mostly in the east longitudes and is larger than West Antarctica, which lies wholly in the west longitudes. It is the fifth-largest continent at 14,200,000 square kilometers (5,500,000 square miles). 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. All life in Antarctica depends on the ice around the continent. However, he was the only doctor in the station. A large part of Antarctica’s ice formations extends from the continent’s edges and over the surrounding ocean. Many of these lakes have connections to each other underground and exchange water between them. Measuring 295 km long and 37 km wide, the iceberg had a surface area of 11,000 km². Finally, Antarctica has a higher elevation than the Arctic, by about 3 km on average, helping make it colder than the Arctic. Nearly 1000 years later, Europeans reached Antarctic waters. Antarctica is about 5.5 million square miles (14.2 million square km) in size, and thick ice covers about 98 percent of the land. The second reason is the way the Earth is positioned to the Sun. Since then, diesel-fueled generators have powered McMurdo Station. Antarctica is one of the harshest places on Earth. The southernmost parts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans converge into a cold oceanic water mass with unique biological and physical characteristics. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Antarctica is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Wilkins Ice Shelf’s collapse from 2008 to 2009 followed the said trend. No lands break the relentless force of the prevailing west winds as they race clockwise around the continent, dragging westerly ocean currents along beneath. Astronomy research in Antarctica studies both the visible universe, and the unobserved one. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Leonid Rogozov was assigned to Novolazarevskaya Station from 1960 to 1961. Map of Antarctica highlighting the major geographic regions, ice sheets, and sites of several research stations. Animal life is also plentiful in Antarctica, with Emperor Penguins being the most famous. Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. 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. Located in West Antarctica, Mount Vinson stands at a height of 4.89 km high. Should the ice on this part of the continent melt, sea levels will rise by at least 3.3. meters. On other continents, warm and moist conditions easily weather landing meteorites. The bar retains the old name of Faraday Bar, even after the rest of the station switched to a Ukrainian name. Captain Jorge Palma, led the Argentine Army detachment at Esperanza Base in Antarctica’s Trinity Peninsula. Antarctica’s reputation as a frozen land at the bottom of the world might make it seem an uninteresting place, but nothing can be further from the truth. There are also known deposits of other metals like platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, and even gold. The ice-choked and stormy seas around Antarctica long hindered exploration by wooden-hulled ships. The Argentinian government sent Emilio’s mother when she was 7 months pregnant to complete her pregnancy in Antarctica. The flat and unbroken central region of the continent allows winds to reach high speeds over vast distances. Chile and Argentina also have claims on Antarctica. The ice on Antarctica isn’t smooth and uniform no matter what your eyes tell you. Read also: Best 20 Facts about Asia History Landscape Cities More. Ten million years later, Gondwana began the enormously slow process of breaking into the pieces we recognize today, and the continents, subcontinent and islands began moving into their present positions. The reactor also provided heat to melt ice for water, and to purify wastewater for reuse. Also, it is considered that once Antarctica is as warm as modern California. There are cracks and rifts in the ice, many of them hidden by thin ice that cover a fall of hundreds of meters. What’s bigger than a giant? They also say they expect the hole to close in full by 2070. Antarctica is the only continent with no native species of ants. If the dentist declares there’s a risk of major teeth issues in the time they’re planned to stay in Antarctica, then it must get resolved before departure. 3. The Antarctic Ice Sheet averages a thickness of 1.9 km. Drones tend to disturb the wildlife, so they’re not allowed on the continent. Anywhere else on the planet, wind speeds only reach this high during storms and similar weather phenomena. Metallica’s Antarctic concert took place at Carlini Station for an hour. For legal purposes of the Antarctic Treaty, the arbitrary boundary of latitude 60° S is used, south of which lies the Antarctic Treaty Area. One of the cooler Antarctica facts: Because Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world, its biodiversity is limited. Here are 15 facts about Antarctica and its wildlife that will leave you speechless: 1. Everything to the west of the Weddell Sea but east of the Ross Sea is West Antarctica. 40 research stations operate all year round. Its name comes from a US Congressman from Georgia, Carl Vinson, in memory of his support for Antarctic expeditions. There are no indigenous people in Antarctica. They, too, are found only in the Arctic region! This includes the shores of the sea, or on the slopes and vents of Antarctica’s volcanoes. In addition, many tourists have visited Antarctica, which has underscored the value of scenic resources in the continent’s economic development. The new millennium saw tourism and (to a lesser extent) biological prospecting (the search for useful chemical compounds and genes in local species) become established sectors of the Antarctic economic landscape. The course runs for over 42 km across King George Island. Geologists collect evidence and piece together Antarctica’s history from today back to when it was part of the Gondwana supercontinent. There is little or no running water. While the terrestrial ecosystem contains more than a thousand known species of organisms, most of these are microorganisms. Melting caused by the rising temperatures somewhat mild at present, but it is gradually increasing. Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Antarctica that we’ve missed? In the winter of 1821, for the first time ever a party of men spent a winter in Antarctica. Scientists have special permits for drones to study the environment and even wildlife. (1, 2) 2. Scientists now know that the rift runs for over 3000 km, and spans around 700 km wide. There’s a misconception that everyone who goes to Antarctica needs to have their appendix and wisdom teeth removed first. Often described as a continent of superlatives, Antarctica is the world’s southernmost continent. Terra Australis instead gave Australia’s name, while Antarctica became the expected but undiscovered continent’s name. Antarctica, fifth in size among the world’s continents. This hypothesis draws from the way inland ice sheets stay unaffected by global warming so far. There are 70 research stations in Antarctica. They’re called the Eulagisca gigantea, or the Antarctic Scale Worm. At their heaviest, Giant Squid only weighs at most 275 kg. Thinner areas called ice sheets melt in summer only to freeze again in winter. Antarctica’s undeveloped state means the skies above the continent are the clearest in the world. People usually picture penguins when they think about the animals in Antarctica. Home to the largest desert in the world; Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on Earth; The coldest temperature measured was -93.2°C (-133°F) Sled dogs pulled the sleds and sleighs of the first explorers on Antarctica, and worked for scientists for decades. As a result, Rogozov had to do surgery on himself, with only limited anesthesia. Ice cores are much like them. 15 Interesting facts about Antarctica 1. There is also evidence of rich oil and gas deposits in the waters around the continent. Nicholas Clinch led the first men up the mountain to its peak in 1966. 80% of the Earth’s freshwater is in Antarctica’s ice. The marathon first took place in 1995 and continues to this day. Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. The name Antarctica is the romanized version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική (antarktiké). 2. The increase in UV radiation caused cancer rates to spike. 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. Others aren’t connected, with scientists saying such lakes are time capsules and home to life forms unchanged for millions of years. However, it poses a threat to research stations. Predictions also showed UV radiation’s effect on harvests. The USA once built a small nuclear reactor in Antarctica to power the McMurdo Station in 1962. Point your mental compass due South and test the extremes of your knowledge of Antarctica in this quiz. But once there’s water, they defrost themselves and come back to life. The air surrounding Antarctica’s Dry Valleys is so low in humidity that even with the extreme cold, snow doesn’t fall. Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone. Despite all that, life still found a way to survive in such a hard land. Mount Erebus stands on Antarctica’s Ross Island at 3.8 km high. About 650 ce, however, long before European geographers of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were to conjecture about Terra Australis Incognita, a mythical land to the far south, Rarotongan oral tradition tells of Ui-te-Rangiora, who sailed south of Aotearoa (New Zealand) to a … The “Antarctic Treaty” signed in 1961 stipulates that no country may exploit Antarctica economically or use it militarily. Definitely one of the more alarming Antarctica facts. In 2003, marine biologist Kirsty Brown died after getting attacked by a Leopard Seal in Antarctica. Department of Philosophy and History of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. 1. Decades of use of CFCs broke down enough ozone to open a hole in the ozone layer. Due to wind direction, most of the CFCs ended up over Antarctica, where the hole opened up. Antarctica is about 5.5 million square miles (14.2 million square km) in size, and thick ice covers about 98 percent of the land. With the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957–58, the present scale of scientific investigation of Antarctica began, and on December 1, 1959, the twelve countries that were active in Antarctica during the IGY signed the Antarctic Treaty. In that time make them self-sufficient, but it is one of the mantle whaling... Vast distances every year in Antarctic waters a height antarctica history facts 4.89 km high United and... The largest, land-only species in Antarctica to power the McMurdo Station in east Antarctica lies mostly in the and... 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