Antarctica is the driest, coldest and iciest continent. Almost the entire continent is covered with ice, with only less than half a percent not frozen. Enrich your knowledge and increase your chances of winning at your next pub quiz with these ‘cool’ facts.
1. Antarctica is waaaaay down south.
Situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent.
This continent is home to the South Pole.
2. It has an appropriate name.
The name ‘Antarctica’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘opposite to the north’.
3. Antarctica has obvious co-ordinates…
The coordinates are 0000° S, 0.0000° W.
The Flag of Antarctica
4. Antarctica is gargantuan.
Antarctica has an awe-inspiring total area of 5,405,430 square miles (14 million square kilometres)! That means it’s bigger than Europe and almost double the size of Australia.
5. Antarctica has its own flag.
Antarctica’s flag dates back only to 2002. Now the official symbol is the continent on a blue background, as shown above.
6. There’s no capital.
Antarctica doesn’t have a capital because it’s a geographic entity, not a political entity.
7. The South Pole was first reached in the 20th Century.
On December, 14th, 1911, the South Pole was reached for the first time by a five man expedition led by Roald Amundsen.
Only a month later, on January 18th, 1912, Britain’s Captain Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with his team, only to discover that Amundsen had beaten them to it. Unfortunately, 11 miles from the supply depot on their return, all 5 members of the team (Scott, Bowers, Evans, Oates and Wilson) perished; their bodies were not discovered until November 1912.
8. Antarctica is famously cold.
In 1983 the coldest temperature on Earth was recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica – it measured a chilling −89.2°C (−128.6°F)! Brrr…
The temperature in the Antarctica hit a record high of 17.5°C (63.5°F); it was recorded on March 24th2015 at the Esperanza Base, just south of the southern tip of Argentina.
9. Antarctica’s ice is very important.
If all of the ice in Antarctica was to melt, sea levels would rise by around 60m (200ft).
The majority of Antarctica is covered in ice that is over 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) thick. 90% of the Earth’s ice is found in Antarctica.
10. Antarctica is… a desert?
Believe it or not, Antarctica is considered to be a desert because of the low precipitation it experiences.
11. Many people live in Antarctica for work.
Whilst people don’t call Antarctica their permanent home, several thousand researchers live there in special research facilities.
12. It’s helped space exploration.
NASA took advantage of Antarctica’s cold and dry conditions in the Dry Valleys region and carried out tests for the Viking mission as they are so close to those on Mars.
Cuverville Island, Antarctica
13. Some animals tend to avoid Antarctica!
Antarctica is the only continent with no native species of ants.
14. It’s abundant with fish.
The native fish of Antarctic have lived and thrived in its extreme sea temperatures of +2°C and -2°C for 5 million years!
15. You can call Antarctica!
Surprisingly, there’s an international dialling code for Antarctica, which is +672.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about Antarctica? Share them in the comments below!