Antarctica Facts

Antarctica Facts
Antarctica is the most southern continent in the world, located in the Antarctic region of the earth's Southern Hemisphere. The South Pole is located in Antarctica, and although this continent is the fifth-largest continent in the world, there are 0 permanent residents. Approximately 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice that is an average of 1.2 miles thick. Antarctica has the coldest, windiest and driest climate of all continents, and with very little precipitation it is considered to be a desert. In 1959 the Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 countries, prohibiting military and mineral mining activity, as well as nuclear testing or waste disposal, protecting the ecozone. The treaty has been signed since then by a total of 49 countries.
Interesting Antarctica Facts:
Antarctica covers 5.4 million square miles.
Although there are no permanent residents of Antarctica, there are approximately 5,000 temporary residents, including scientists who perform research on the frozen continent.
Although there are no permanent human residences, Antarctica is home to many species including whales, seals, krill, penguins and fish.
Unlike in the Arctic, no Eskimos or polar bears live in Antarctica.
The annual mean temperature in Antarctica is -56 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the region below 60 degrees south, there is one long day and one long night each year. The sun rises in October and sets in March.
The projects that scientists work on in Antarctica include studies of the species living in the region, global warming, meteorites, glaciology, UV radiation, volcanoes, astronomy, and climatology.
Antarctica was not seen by man until 1820, but nobody set foot on the frozen continent until 1895. The first man to set foot on Antarctica's ice is believed to be Henryk Bull, and his whaling ship crew.
The first woman to set foot on Antarctica was Catherine Mikkelson, a whaling captain's wife.
The only warm-blooded animal that stays on Antarctica during its bitterly cold winter is the emperor penguin.
There are 21 different species of penguins living in the Southern Hemisphere including the chinstrap penguin, the Adelie, and the Gentoo penguin.
In the 2% of Antarctica that is not covered by ice, plants are able to grow, such as lichens, algae, and moss.
It is believed that fifty million years ago Antarctica was a temperate climate, capable of supporting many types of animals, forests and plant life. An ice cap slowly formed and Antarctica became uninhabitable for most life forms.
The coldest temperature ever recorded in the world was -128.56 degrees Fahrenheit. It was recorded at Antarctica's Vostok station on July 21st, 1983.
It is believed that if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt, the average sea level around the world would rise by 16 feet.
Mount Erebus, in Antarctica, is the world's most southern active volcano.
The first human to reach the South Pole was Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian who planted his country's flag there on December 14th, 1911.
In the summer on Antarctica approximately 4000 to 5000 researchers live there. In the winter months this number drops to approximately 1000 researchers.

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