Situated in the southern hemisphere, Antarctica is the southernmost continent on our planet Earth. Out of the seven continents, Antarctica is the fifth largest in area. Owing to extreme weather conditions in the region, there is no human population there. The living organisms here include cold-adapted plants and animals. The name ‘Antarctica’ is a Romanized version of Greek compound word, ‘Antarktike’, which means ‘opposite of the Arctic’. The continent is not governed by any specific country, rather by the Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959 by twelve countries. Today, the treaty has been signed by forty five countries. The main aim of the treaty is to prohibit military activities and mineral mining, while supporting scientific research and protecting the continent's ecozone. Want to know more interesting and amazing fun facts about Antarctica? Scroll further and enjoy reading about this coldest, driest ever, continent on the surface of the earth, Antarctica.
Population: 4,490 (2011)
Area: 14,000,000 km2
Interesting & Fun Facts about Antarctica
- Antarctica is the coldest continent on earth, as the lowest temperature recorded here was -89°C. On an average, it is 17 degrees colder than Arctic in the north.
- It is the driest continent on earth, as it hardly receives 2 inches of rainfall annually. The ‘Dry valley’ region on the continent is supposed to be bereft of rainfall since 2 million years.
- The continent of Antarctica is buried under 1 mile of ice sheet and snow. If the ice melts, the continent would spring back 500 m, in around 1000 years.
- If Antarctica's ice sheets melt, the level of the world’s oceans would rise by 60 to 65 meters (200 - 210 ft).
- Antarctica is the ideal place to find meteorites, as they are easily visible on the white sheets of ice. They do not get covered by vegetation and even get trapped into the ice.
- Antarctica is one and a half times the size of United States.
- At the deepest point, the ice in Antarctica is around 3 - 4 km thick.
- The largest animal living on the continent is midge, which measure less than a half inch long.
- Antarctica is the windiest continent on earth. It experiences frequent wind storms, which at times speed over 300 knots at the sea coast.
- The water of the Antarctica is so cold that nothing can rot here.
- Owing to the chilly water in Antarctica, codfish have antifreeze in their blood to save them from freezing.
- The ice cap at Antarctic contains 29 million cubic kilometers of ice. This constitutes nearly 90% of all the ice on the planet and between 60 - 70% of all of the fresh water in the world.
- Only 0.4 percent of Antarctica is not covered by ice.
- Antarctica is the highest continent in elevation.
- In Antarctica, the point of thick sheet of ice has a depth of 4,776 m and a thickness of 2,160 m. This constitutes to about 90% of the total quantity of ice and also accounts to 70% of the world’s total fresh water level.
- There are no signs of human existence or native people on this continent as per scientists. Several whales, penguins, fish, seals etc. are found in the waters except for mammals.
- The fossil study conducted by the scientists reveal that once this continent was enriched with green vegetation, moderate climate and many varieties of animals were found here. Gradually, as the ice cap formation began, all the life forms were destroyed.
- If in case the entire ice sheets of Antarctica melts, the water level of the oceans across the world would increase everywhere by 60–65 m.
- Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent.
- Vinson Massif is the highest peak in Antarctica at 4,892 m.
- Mount Erebus, located on Ross Island in Antarctica, is the world's southernmost active volcano.