Population: 4,490 (est.)
List of countries:
- Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents.
- Antarctica has no indigenous inhabitants, but there are permanently and seasonally staffed research stations, field camps, and former whaling settlements.
- At least ten children have been born in West Antarctica. The first was Emilio Marcos Palma, born on January 7, 1978 to Argentine parents at Esperanza, Hope Bay, near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If the entire ice in Antarctica would melt, sea level would rise about 60 meters everywhere.
Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14.0 million km2 (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in thickness.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is considered a desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm (8 inches) along the coast and far less inland. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89 °C (−129 °F). There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Only cold-adapted organisms survive there, including many types of algae, animals (for example mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades), bacteria, fungi, plants, and protista. Vegetation where it occurs is tundra.
Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis (“Southern Land”) date back to antiquity, the first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1820 by the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of resources, and isolation. The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries; to date, 49 countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continent’s ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations.
Language(s): Antarctica has no spoken language of its own. The languages spoken there are the ones spoken by visitors.