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Top 14 Interesting Facts about Antarctica

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Did You Know? Antarctica was first spotted in 1820 by a Russian expedition and before that nobody was aware of it. After 20 years it was confirmed to be a continent and not just a group of islands.

Here are some of the most interesting facts about Antarctica that will surely spark your interest in this place.

Fact #1

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Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. It has an area of 5,600,000 sq miles which make it about one and a half times of United States. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent on earth. It is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on Earth.

Antarctica is, on average, the windiest place on earth. Scientists exploring this southerly landmass have reported wind speeds that have reached up to 200 miles per hour.

Fact #2

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The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 58.2°F (14.5°C) and the coldest temperature ever recorded was minus 128.56 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 89.2 degrees Celsius). It was registered on July 21, 1983, at Vostok station of Antarctica.

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Fact #3

There are 300 lakes hiding under the Antarctic ice and are kept from freezing by the warmth of Earth’s core. Lake Vostok is a pristine freshwater lake buried beneath 2.5 miles (3.7 kilometres) of solid ice. It is the largest lake in the continent and is about the size of Lake Ontario. As per some estimates, if the West Antarctic ice sheet melts entirely, it would raise the global sea levels by whopping 16 feet (5 meters).

Fact #4

In an expedition during 2009-10, researchers in Antarctica found a rift that could rival the Grand Canyon under the Antarctic ice. It is roughly 6 miles (10 Km) across and at least 62 miles (100 Km) long and it extends nearly a mile deep down. Moreover, the driest place on the planet is located in Antarctica and called the Dry Valleys.

Fact #5

Because of the earth’s tilt, the sun does not rise in Antarctica from the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox, which means the continent remains dark throughout the entire winter season. Conversely, during the summer months, the sun does not set in Antarctica, which means it actually receives more sunlight than the equator during that time frame

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Fact #6

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Antarctica ice sheet is believed to be at least 40 million years old. There runs a waterfall in Antarctica which turns red blood in colour. Winds can reach 200 mph (320 km/h) in some place of Antarctica. Some parts of Antarctica has not received any rain or snow from the last 2 million years. In Antarctica, the average thickness of ice is 1 mile (1.6Km).

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is the single biggest mass of ice in the world and can sometimes be up to four miles thick. The continent as a whole contains about 90 per cent of the planet’s freshwater ice and around 70 per cent of the total fresh water on earth

Fact #7

You will not find polar bears anywhere in Antarctica, they can only be found in the Arctic region only, also there are no reptiles in Antarctica. Even the Husky dogs were banned from there in 1994. Penguins are the most common bird in Antarctica. These Penguins live in colonies with a large number of population that would even rival some major cities, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

Fact #8

Chile has a civilian town in Antarctica. They have a school, hospital, post office, internet, TV and mobile coverage. Antarctica has also one ATM. Antarctica has its own top-level domain dot aq. It is the only continent which has no time zone.

Fact #9

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Antarctica has a nuclear power station and also has a fire department. The U.S. operates McMurdo nuclear power station. Antarctica was once as warm as modern-day California. There are almost seven churches in Antarctica. A scientist got a date via Tinder in Antarctica with a girl who was camping just 45 minutes away from him.

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Fact #10

Metallica played Freeze ‘Em All, in Antarctica. They were the first band to have played on all the continents.

Emile Macro Palma was the first kid who was born in Antarctica in Jan 1979. Argentina govt send his mother to Antarctica in 1977 in an effort to claim some portion of the continent. Only ten other people have born on the continent since that.

Roald Amundsen, Norwegian explorer was the first human to reach the South Pole. He beat Robert Falcon Scott, a British explorer and reached there on 14 Dec 1911

Fact #11

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Mount Erebus is the southernmost active volcano on the earth and is in Antarctica. Moreover, it’s very near to U.S. Research centre. Most of Antarctica is covered in ice and less than 1% is permanently ice-free. The largest iceberg which broke from Antarctica in 2000 was measured about 11,000 sq km (4,200 sq mi) which is apparently bigger than Jamaica.

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Fact #12

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The world’s best place to find meteorites is Antarctica. Almost 90%  of all the meteorites are found there.

Meteorites that crash there are easily seen against the ice. They are also better preserved, as they quickly get covered by ice, protecting them from corrosion. Since 1970, there have been more than 10,000 meteorites discovered in Antarctica, a few up to 700,000 years old.

Fact #13

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Antarctica sits on every line of longitude, due to the South Pole being situated near the middle of the continent. Theoretically Antarctica would be located in all time zones; however, areas south of the Antarctic Circle experience extreme day-night cycles near the times of the June and December solstices. This makes it difficult to determine which time zone would be appropriate. The scientists who live there go by either the time of their homeland or the supply line that brings them food and equipment.

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Fact #14

There are 30 different countries that operate 80 research stations situated around the continent. The human inhabitants who occupy these facilities number around 4,000 during the summer months and only 1,000 during the long, harsh winters.

The continent is governed by Antarctic Treaty was signed on Dec. 1, 1959, after more than a year of secret negotiations by 12 countries. It dedicates the continent to peaceful research activities. Forty-eight nations have now signed the treaty.

Some More Amazing and Bizarre facts about Antarctica

  • ‘Antarctica’ derives from a Greek word which means ‘Opposed to the North
  • For the last 2 million years, some areas of Antarctica has had no rain or snow
  • You have to get your wisdom teeth and appendix removed if you wish to work in Antarctica.
  • Antarctica is the only continent without native reptiles
  • The first women to set foot on Antartica was Catherine Mikkelsen in 1935.
  • Antarctica was once as warm as modern-day California.
  • During winter, the ice expands and Antarctica grows due to colder weather
  • In winter time, the sea ice around Antarctica grows at the rate of 40,000 square miles a day.
  • One of the biggest dangers to researchers and others living on the continent is actually fire. The dry environment makes it very possible and hard to stop.
  • The Antarctic Ice Marathon is an annual marathon and 100km run held on an ice sheet in the shadow of the Ellsworth Mountains just a few hundred miles from the South Pole