If you are eager to find out some interesting facts about the amazing Antarctica, here is an article which comprises some awesome information on this subject. For your delight, I added some extraordinary pictures by National Geographic which give you some clues regarding the beauty of this mysterious continent. Antarctica provokes us to discover its secrets. Answering this provocation are the scientists who ignore the extreme weather conditions and tourists who began discovering this place in the past few years.
1. How cold it really gets?
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth, as well as the windiest. The lowest temperature ever registered was of -89⁰C in 1983, while in the warmest day of summer, it doesn’t reach more than 15⁰C near the coast.
2. The driest place on Earth
One of the most interesting facts about Antarctica is the contradiction between the dry climate and the amount of water (70% of the water on Earth). This continent is the driest place on the planet. Even the hottest desert in the world sees more rain than the Dry Valleys (photo), a region in Antarctica. There was no rain there for 2 million years! Actually, the entire South Pole receives an average 10 cm of precipitation per year.
There are no human inhabitants in Antarctica. The only people who live there for longer periods of time are part of the temporary scientific communities. A number of 5000 scientists and auxiliary personnel can be found in Antarctica in summer while during winter, 1000 remain on these lands to work.
This is the only place on Earth where the emperor penguin (photo) can be found. It is the tallest and the heaviest of all penguin species. Some interesting facts, the Emperor penguin Is the only species to breed during the Antarctic winter, while the Adélie penguin breeds farther south than any other species. There are a total of 6 penguin varieties in Antarctica (of the total number of 17 species).
5. Who owns Antarctica?
Antarctica has no government and no country owns this continent. While many countries tried to gain the ownership of these lands over the time, a common agreement has been reached, that grants Antarctica the privilege of remaining the only region on earth which is not ruled by any nation.
6. The Meteorites
One of the most interesting facts about this continent is that it is the best place in the world to find meteorites. Apparently, meteorites striking the Antarctic ice sheet are better preserved than anywhere else on Earth. Meteorite fragments from Mars are among the most valuable and unexpected discoveries. Apparently, the escape velocity from that planet would have to be about 18,000 kilometers per hour for this meteorite to be able to reach Earth. Moreover, they are subject to controversies about possible indications related to the microbial life on early Mars.
7. No time zone
This is the only continent without a time zone. Scientist communities in Antarctica tend to keep either the time relating to their home lands or the supply line that bring them food and other essential goods. One can walk all the 24 time zones in few seconds.
While a variety of marine animals, such as blue whales, orcas, and fur seals find this continent most welcoming, Antarctica is extremely poor in land animals. One of the biggest forms of life living here is an insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, which is 1.3cm long. There are no flying insects, because of the extremely windy conditions. However, black springtails that jump like fleas may be found among penguin colonies. This is not surprisingly since these insects are present everywhere on Earth. Another interesting piece of information, Antarctica is the only continent not to have indigenous species of ants.
9. Global warming
If the entire ice in Antarctica would melt, sea level would rise about 60 meters everywhere! We should pay more attention to the global warming which affects particularly this continent!
10 The Gigantic Iceberg
The last item on the list of interesting facts is the iceberg which broke free from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, in 2000. It is the biggest iceberg in the known history, measuring 295 Km in length and 37 km in width, same as the size of Connecticut or Qatar, for example.