27 Facts About Antarctica


Antarctica is on average the coldest, driest, and windiest of the continents, and it has the highest average elevation.

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Antarctica holds the record for the lowest measured temperature on Earth, -89.

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Ice shelves of Antarctica were probably first seen in 1820, during a Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev.

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Antarctica is governed by about 30 countries, all of which are parties of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty System.

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Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s, with the first use of the name being attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew.

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The vast majority of Antarctica is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, which averages 1.

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East Antarctica is largely covered by the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

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West Antarctica was partially in the Northern Hemisphere, and during the time, large amounts of sandstones, limestones, and shales were deposited.

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East Antarctica was at the equator, where seafloor invertebrates and trilobites flourished in the tropical seas.

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Antarctica became glaciated during the Late Paleozoic icehouse beginning at the end of the Devonian period, though glaciation would substantially increase during the late Carboniferous.

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West Antarctica was formed by the merging of several continental plates, which created a number of mountain ranges in the region, the most prominent being the Ellsworth Mountains.

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Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and driest of Earth's continents.

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East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its higher elevation.

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Conversely, the South Pole, located in East Antarctica, barely warmed during much of the 20th century, but temperatures rose three times the global average between 1990 and 2020.

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Precipitation in Antarctica occurs in the form of snow, which accumulates and forms the giant ice sheet that covers the continent.

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The average extent of sea ice around Antarctica has changed little since satellites began to observe the Earth's surface in 1978; which is in contrast with the Arctic, where there has been rapid sea ice loss.

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The ozone hole above Antarctica is predicted to slowly disappear; by the 2060s, levels of ozone are expected to have returned to values last recorded in the 1980s.

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Invertebrate life of Antarctica includes species of microscopic mites such as Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails.

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The ocean around Antarctica is visited by various other bird species, including some that normally reside in the Arctic.

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The first documented landing on Antarctica was by the American sealer John Davis, apparently at Hughes Bay on 7 February 1821, although some historians dispute this claim, as there is no evidence Davis landed on the Antarctic continent rather than an offshore island.

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Antarctica's expeditions conducted extensive geographical and scientific research, and he is credited with surveying a larger region of the continent than any other explorer.

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Continent of Antarctica has never had a permanent resident population, although staffed research stations are continuously maintained.

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Antarctic Treaty prohibits any military activity in Antarctica, including the establishment of military bases and fortifications, military manoeuvres, and weapons testing.

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Antarctica's status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System.

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Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S for the purposes of the Treaty System.

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New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959, although in 2015 Norway formally defined Queen Maud Land as including the unclaimed area between it and the South Pole.

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Antarctica provides a unique environment for the study of meteorites: the dry polar desert preserves them well, and meteorites older than a million years have been found.

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