Antarctica is the fifth largest continent and is roughly twice the size of Australia. This continent was once called ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ until 1840. This is a Latin phrase that translates as “the unknown land of the south.” Antarctica might seem like a harsh continent, but it is bustling with various animals such as penguins, seals, and whales. People from all over the world come here to learn about stuff like climate change, rocks, and life beyond Earth. Nobody lives here permanently, however, there are research bases kept by many governments, and a large number of tourists visit each year. Scroll down to discover the full list of cool and interesting facts about the world’s driest-ice desert, Antarctica.
1. There Is More Ice In Antarctica Than Anywhere Else In The World.
Antarctica is huge, spanning over 14 million square kilometers (8.6 million square miles)! When it comes to ice, the Antarctic Ice Sheet is currently the single biggest mass of ice in the whole world. It can be up to four kilometers thick in certain locations! On the eastern side, you have this massive ice sheet sitting on a massive amount of land. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the ice in Western Antarctica is nearly 2500 meters below sea level.
2. Antarctica Is A Desert.
Although it’s icy and snow-covered, Antarctica is considered a desert due to its low annual rainfall. The average quantity of rainfall around the shore is roughly 166mm, and this number reduces even more as you approach inland. A desert is defined as receiving not more than 250mm (or 10 inches) of precipitation in a typical year, making Antarctica the driest of the seven continents on the planet.
3. Antarctica Has The Most Constant Southernmost Active Volcano.
Mount Erebus is located on Antarctica’s Ross Island and rises to a remarkable height of 3,794 metres (12,448 ft) above sea level. Over the years, it has experienced many eruption periods that have caused molten rock to be released and lava to flow down its slopes. It also frequently emits gas. Because of the lava lakes, there is a rare chance to study and witness how molten rock behaves in extremely cold temperatures. It is the second-highest peak in Antarctica and the home to the only everlasting lava lakes on Earth.
4. All Directions In Antarctica Point North Map.
No doubt that Antarctica’s direction to the north is one of the most interesting facts about the continent. The southernmost place of Earth is where you stand if you are at the South Pole. Regardless of your position, all directions in Antarctica point north. The prime meridian, an imaginary line that goes through Greenwich, United Kingdom, at 0 degrees longitude, serves as its foundation. West Antarctica is to your left, and East Antarctica is to your right if you were to stand at the South Pole and see Greenwich.
5. There’s Plenty Of Penguin Population In Antarctica.
Antarctica isn’t exactly a thriving wildlife continent. Whales and seals can be found in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the frozen continent. The Emperor penguins, however, are the true show-stoppers of Antarctica. These penguins are the titans of the penguin world, measuring over 120 cm tall and weighing up to 45 kg. They have a voracious appetite for krill, fish, and squid. When it’s time to celebrate like a penguin, there are colonies with thousands of them. Can you imagine there are approximately 5 million of these amazing animals in Antarctica? It’s a penguin heaven!
6. The Discovery Of Antarctica Came Much Later In History Than You Might Believe.
The southernmost continent was discovered very late in human history, in 1820, by the Russian voyage of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev. Oral reports show that native members from the southern hemisphere explored the region, but they may fall beyond the usual concept of explorers. Also, due to the difficult environment, the continent remained mostly undiscovered for many years after Bellingshausen and Lazarev’s journey, and more expeditions did not occur until the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
7. There is a Diamond Dust in Antarctica’s Air.
It’s weird to imagine observing a million tiny flying diamonds in the skies of Antarctica, but it does happen. They’re not real diamonds in the sky, but billions of tiny ice crystals that dazzle like dancing diamonds in the sunlight. You might see an icy fog at first. But as these ice crystals swing floating through the air and the sun catches them in the perfect place, they begin to produce an adorable effect. They form what appears in the sky to be a tiny sun or sun dog.
8. Lake Vostok Is One Of The World’s Largest Lakes.
Lake Vostok, also known as Subglacial Lake Vostok or Lake East, is Antarctica’s largest lake. The water body is located around 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) beneath Russia’s Vostok Station on the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and is also the largest subglacial lake known. Most scientists assume that the lake formed as a result of volcanic activity that melted some of the ice above. However, most scientists agree that Lake Vostok may have a unique freshwater ecosystem of species that developed independently from other types of life on Earth.
9. There is a Waterfall that Flows Red and Looks Like Blood.
Here are the most surprising facts about Antarctica the glaciers in the Eastern part of the continent are bloody red. The lake was first discovered in 1911 on a normal glacier, like Taylor Glacier, which would be colored a stark and bright red by water flowing from deep within the glacier. However, this red water remained a mystery, until 2017, when scientists made a discovery.
10. Antarctica Does Not Follow Any Time Zone.
Antarctica does not follow standard time zone standards. There is no official time zone setup because the continent is largely uninhabited and without a dominant nation. Rather, people can choose the time zone that corresponds to the country paying for the service or the one that is most closely located to their base. At times, this unique setup causes nearby cities to run on distinct clocks. It just serves to show how, in Antarctica, alliance and science surpass strict time zones.
Fun Facts About Antarctica
If you are interested in learning more about this polar continent, here are some more fascinating and fun facts about Antarctica.
- There are no countries in Antarctica; the region is administered by an international treaty (the Antarctic Treaty).
- Despite Antarctica being the most empty region in the world due to the lack of indigenous people and nations, seven nations have territorial claims to various areas of the continent.
- Some 90 million years ago, West Antarctica was a lush forest of ferns, trees, and dinosaurs.
- Antarctica has only two flowering plants. Antarctic hair grass and pearlwort are two plants that bloom throughout the summer.
- Antarctica has not a single tree.
- Antarctica’s ice liner contains 70% of the world’s new water. Antarctica may support mushroom growth! Despite being the world’s largest desert, it is home to over 1,100 different varieties of mushrooms!
- If a person wants to live in the King George Island town of Villas Las Estrellas, they must have their appendix removed.
- The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the world’s most warming regions.
- During Antarctica’s late winter (September and October), a hole in the earth’s protective ozone layer occurs. Following its discovery in 1985, international governments worked together to restrict the harmful gases that caused it, which were found in numerous household equipment, including refrigerators. It is diminishing, but it is not yet closed.
- There are now eleven kids born in Antarctica, which is unusual for this cold, isolated continent.
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