Interesting Facts about Antarctica

September 2, 2012 | Interesting Facts, Travel

Antarctica (Photo:museumchick.com)

The term Antarctica came from the Greek word “Antarktos” which mean “opposite to the Arctic”.

It is the third smallest continent taking only 10% of Earth’s area. It is located in the southernmost part of the Earth. It has the strongest wind as well, known as the katabatics. Its velocity can reach up to 320 kilometer per hour. It is the reason why there are ‘whiteouts’ where snows are picked up and blown in the air.

Because the sun is not able to give enough heat to the continent, it became the coldest place on Earth. As a result, the continent built 90% of the Earth’s ice. Its ice can get as deep as 4776 meters making it the thickest ice sheet in the whole world. Antarctica is the driest continent yet it has the Earth’s 70% fresh water.

The Two Seasons

Unlike other continents, Antarctica has only two seasons, which are summer that starts on October, and winter that starts on March. During winter, the temperature could drop to -70 degrees Celsius making -40 degrees Celsius the warmest temperature. On summers, the temperature can be as warm as -35 degrees Celsius to -15 degrees Celsius.

In the warmer areas like the coast, temperature is usually higher. The place experiences one sunset and one sunrise throughout the year. Sunset only happens during March through the next six months, and then the sun rises again in October hinting the start of a long, warmer and yet still cold summer, also known as daylight season. During the summer, it does not get too dark. Twilight is usually enjoyed throughout the night.

Life in the Continent

There are no native people in Antarctica. Not everyone living down there is a permanent resident. Scientists and researchers are usually the ones living there for a while to conduct research on how to make the place better and safer. Every year, scientific experiments are done in Antarctica. Usually, personnel are sent in Antarctica during the summer since it’s warmer and safer. During the winter, however, there is a much lesser population in the continent. Though Igloos are made of ice and snow, it is still a good house a person could get in the place since it is designed to protect humans from getting too cold.

There are no trees in Antarctica. However, there are hundreds of lichen, algae and moss species. There are a number of native animals found in the place as well, including seals and some species of birds and whales. Some seals though are rarely seen since they live deep in the Antarctic waters. There are not a lot of native animals in the continent.

Still, there are a number of fishes that came from Antarctica. Notothenioids are fishes that were able to adapt to extreme cold. Most fishes belonging to this group are native to the waters of Antarctic. These animals are designed with anti-freeze proteins.

There are a few and rare commercial flights to the continent. There are 32 airports but aircraft facilities in Antarctica are restricted. Military aircrafts are sometimes used to get to Antarctica. Ships though are the ideal means to get to the place since there are a lot of ships designed for Antarctic tours. There are several means of transportation around the place, including land transportation such as Quad, Snowcat, Hagglund, Nodwell, and a few more.

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