Want to know more about Antarctica? Here are 25 Interesting Facts about Antarctica that you probably didn’t know before reading this!
To make this even more fun, I want to challenge you as well. How many of these Antarctica facts did you know before reading this? Share your result in the comment section!
1. There are fish living in lakes under Antarctica
The massive ice sheets are not the most inviting places on Earth to live, but after drilling in Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, scientists discovered that life flourished beneath the ice (740 meters down).
The fishes here had to adapt in order to survive the harsh conditions, and one fascinating ability is their antifreeze glycoproteins, that prevents body fluids from freezing in minus temperatures.
2. 70% of the world’s freshwater can be found in Antarctica
Earth consists of roughly 70% water, where only 2,5% is freshwater, the rest is saltwater.
Imagine that 7 billion people need to drink water every day + all of the industries needing water for production etc. But still, 70% of the world’s freshwater is in Antarctica!
3. It’s the only continent without a time zone
In theory, Antarctica is located in all time zones, but due to extremes in some areas, it’s difficult to determine a suitable time zone. As of now, the different time zones used are based on each country’s territory.
For example, McMurdo uses New Zealand time (UTC +13) and Troll station uses UTC +0 as its time zone.
4. Antarctica was once a tropical continent
Today, it might be unthinkable, but about 52 million years ago it was a tropical paradise with enjoyable temperatures. By this period it was also home to many mammals and plants.
The reason for this was because of the higher amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, causing higher temperatures. Scientists believe that this will eventually happen again when temperatures rise due to climate change and raised levels of carbon dioxide.
5. There’s a red waterfall
Sometimes referred to as the “bleeding glacier” or Blood Falls, as it’s more commonly known as. This red waterfall was discovered in 1911 by Griffith Taylor, and it’s pretty fascinating.
At first, it was thought that the red color was caused by algae. But it was later determined that it’s caused by iron oxides.
6. Antarctica is about 1.3 times as large as Europe
Europe is big with many countries and people, but Antarctica is even bigger.
7. More Meteorites Are Found In Antarctica Than Anywhere Else In The World
90% of the world’s ice can be found in Antarctica
Imagine all the ice combined in supermarkets, bars, restaurants, and people’s freezes – That’s a LOT of ice! But, that’s nothing compared to the ice in this continent. With 90% of the World’s ice located here, it’s safe to say it’s freezing in Antarctica.
It is estimated that 99% of the total land area is covered by ice.
8. The Largest Recorded Iceberg Was Bigger Than Jamaica
You have probably heard of the Iceberg that Titanic collided with, but that one was tiny compared to the largest recorded iceberg, which is bigger than the whole island of Jamaica that has a land area of 10 992 km².
If you were to walk across the island of Jamaica from west to east, it would take at least 62 hours. Now, picture yourself an Iceberg that would take longer than 62 hours to cross.
9. The largest ozone hole is over Antarctica
Our modern civilization hasn’t come for free, and today there’s a large ozone hole over Antarctica. Scientific reports show that the ozone hole is finally starting to heal though.
It was caused by aerosols and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in Airconditioners, Hairspray, refrigerators etc. Luckily, these are now banned in products.
10. There are no ants or mosquitoes living there
For the 1106 people living in Antarctica year-round, ants and mosquitoes are not of concern. In addition to that, this is the only continent in the world without any reptiles.
11. 3 Trillion tons of ice has melted in the last 25 years
Climate change is causing melting ices in the polar regions, and in the last 25 years, Antarctica has seen a loss of 3 trillion tons of ice. While some of it is definitely a natural process of Earth, humans for sure speed up global warming.
12. There is only one ATM
Wells Fargo installed an ATM back in 1998, at McMurdo station.
13. There are seven churches in Antarctica
I think this is definitely one of the most interesting facts about Antarctica when it comes to man-made things. It’s pretty impressive that they’ve built not one, but seven churches on this continent.
14. Winds can reach up to 200 miles per hour
A level 1 tornado has a speed between 86 and 110 miles per hour. Level 4 tornadoes have a speed of 166 to 200 miles per hour. If there were traditional houses, the walls would be completely destroyed by the harsh winds.
Antarctica is actually one of the windiest places on Earth, and Cape Denison is generally considered as the windiest place on Earth.
15. Roald Amundsen was first to reach the South Pole
The Norwegian explorer arrived at the South Pole on December 14 in 1911. Of course, there might be others back in history, but Roald Amundsen’s trip to the South Pole is the first successful exploration recorded.
A 7-day cruise in Antarctica may cost from 7000 USD to 15.000 USD, excluding flights.
5 x Fascinating Facts about Antarctica
- Home to the largest desert in the world
- Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on Earth
- The coldest temperature measured was -93.2°C (-133°F)
- Some parts of Antarctica haven’t had any snow or rain for the last 2 million years
- Mount Erebus is an active volcano that erupts ice crystals
5 x Antarctica Facts for kids
- There’s only one insect that is native to the continent, and that’s Belgica Antarctica
- The sun never goes down during summer
- And during winter, the sun never rises
- There are wild penguins and seals living on the continent
- But there are no polar bears
General Facts about Antarctica
- Land Area: 14,000,000 km2 (5,400,000 sq mi)
- Population: 1106
- Highest mountain: Vinson Massif (4892 meters)
- Largest Lake: Lake Vostok
- Towns: Villa Las Estrellas and Esperanza
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How many of these Antarctica Facts did you know beforehand? Share your result in the comment section below!