10 Interesting Facts About Antarctica
Remote places like Antarctica is some of the least explored areas on earth. With having a surface area of around 14,000,000 sq km, Antarctica is one of the largest continents and in winter, it becomes even larger because of the ice building up around the coast. It is twice the size of Australia. Antarctica is an icy, remote, permafrost desert which holds around 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the freshwater. And if all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels in the world would rise about 200 feet. Here are 10 Interesting Facts About Antarctica that you might don’t know.
Interesting Facts About Antarctica
1. Antarctic Oasis:
Antarctica was first discovered by humans in 1820 and The first person to reach the South Pole was a Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen in December 1911. Though Antarctica holds 70% of earth’s fresh water, 1% of the continent is permanently ice-free and known as the world’s harshest deserts. These areas of the continent are called dry valleys or Antarctic oasis. It is estimated that the dry valleys haven’t seen rain or snow in almost 2 million years. And due to the impact of climate change, these areas could expand up to 25% by the end of the 21st century which will change the bio-diversity of the continent.
2. There Are Two Civilian Towns, Two ATMs & Seven Christian Churches In Antarctica:
Antarctica has two towns, Villa Las Estrellas is the largest one which was founded in 1984 by Pinochet in order to confirm Chile’s presence in the region. Now, the town is a research station that has a school, hospital, hostel, post office, internet and TV. Esperanza Base is the other town which is an Argentine research station. This town is also famous because of being the birthplace of Emilio Marcos Palma, the first person to be born in Antarctica. He was born in 1978 and his birth remains the southernmost and has featured in the Guinness Book of Records. Other than these towns, Antarctica has a total of two ATMs and seven Christian churches.
3. Antarctica Has A Thick Ice Sheet:
In Antarctica , the thickness of the ice sheet can vary from place to place such as the East Antarctic sheet is much thicker than the West one. But on average the ice sheet is more than 1mile thick, although in some areas it can get as thick as almost three miles. The world’s largest recorded iceberg was also in Antarctica which was called Iceberg B-15 and was bigger than the whole island of Jamaica, measuring around 295 km long and 37 km broad, with a surface area of 11,000 sq km.
4. The Impact Of Climate Change:
The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming areas on Earth, due to climate change. Over the past 50 years, average temperatures over the Antarctic Peninsula have increased by 3°C, five times the average increase on Earth. And in the past 25 years, it has lost more than 3 trillion tons of ice. Over the last five years, the ice loss process has accelerated dramatically. It is estimated that more than 241 billion tons of ice is lost each year.
In fact, due to climate change, Earth’s gravitational pull Is Shifting. According to a study, West Antarctica lost so much ice between 2009 and 2012 that it has actually caused a dip in the gravity field over the region. Four and a half million years ago, Antarctica was warm and covered in palm trees and it can become one again due to CO2 emissions.
5. There Are No Polar Bears & Reptiles In Antarctica:
Antarctica doesn’t have any polar bears, they actually live in the Arctic. Antarctica is also the only continent that doesn’t have any Reptiles. It is also one of the few continents that are not colonized by ants. Although quite a few sea creatures live in Antarctica with natural antifreeze in their bodies, that prevents them from freezing solid. Antarctica is also the place where more meteorites are found than anywhere else in the world. Back in 2015, a 50 million-year-old fossilized clitellate worm cocoon was discovered in Antarctica containing the world’s oldest sperm.
6. Antarctica Has No Official Time Zone:
Antarctica is not divided into country or timezones. Antarctica sits on every line of longitude technically falling under every time zone. During summer, it experiences 24 hour days of sunlight and in winter 24 hours of darkness. Because it lies in the southern hemisphere, seasons there is the opposite of seasons in the north. In Antarctica, summer runs from October to February with winter covering the remainder of the year. The towns follow the time zone of their nearest countries.
7. Antarctica Is The Driest Continent:
Antarctica’s inner regions receive an average of 2 inches of rain each year in the form of snow if compared Sahara desert receives twice of that rain each year. But Antarctica doesn’t soak the moisture into the ground. In 2015, the highest temperature of 17.5 °C was recorded on the Antarctic continent.
8. The coldest & The Windiest:
At the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica in1983, the lowest natural temperature ever was directly recorded at ground level on Earth – 89.2 °C. But an even lower temperature of −93.2 °C was recorded in 2013 by satellite observations. It has been observed that in some locations in Antarctica, the temperature even dropped to 98 °C. The strongest winds on Antarctica is called katabatic and can reach up to the speed of up to 320km/hr making it the windiest place on earth.
9. The Southernmost Bar:
The southernmost bar is located at the Vernadsky Research Station in Antarctica. And just if you are curious the internet domain extension for Antarctica is ‘.aq’. Also, The band Metallica played a concert in Antarctica on December 8, 2013, named Freeze ‘em all. It became the first band to have played on all seven continents in one year. Also, If you want to work in Antarctica, you’ll have to remove your wisdom teeth & appendix, even if there’s nothing wrong with them as surgeries are not performed at any of the research stations,
10. Volcano’s & Lakes:
Mount Erebus is one of the few consistently active volcanoes on earth and also the southernmost active volcano in the world and it spews out ice crystals. Antarctica also has a volcano named Blood Falls, as it spills out water as red as blood. This happens because the water is high in salt and oxidised iron. Antarctica also has about 400 lakes hidden its ice sheet, the largest of which is called Lake Vostok.