Antarctica is perhaps one of the most mysterious continents on earth. It is almost uninhabitable, nature is inexorable and there are still many undiscovered areas. It is, therefore, more fun to discover more facts about Antarctica (beautiful continent).
With That being said let’s find out what are these surprising facts.
Wait, Before we jump into the facts about Antarctica, I would like you to have a general idea about Antarctica.
A Shortcut About Antarctica Continent:
Antarctica is the southernmost continent around the South Pole of the Earth. The name Antarctica comes from ant-arktikos (ἀνταρκτικός), a Greek word for “opposite the north”. With an area of 14 million square kilometers, it is the fifth largest continent, after Asia, Africa, North America and South America, and before Europe and Australia.
Antarctica is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (according to the old division into oceans). All sea areas around Antarctica, south of the 60th parallel, are nowadays referred to as the Southern Ocean (or Antarctic Ocean ). The land and water around Antarctica are collectively referred to as the Antarctic.
Facts About Antarctica:
1- Antarctica Always Has a Different Format:
You would say that a continent is almost always the same size, but that does not apply to Antarctica. This is of course because this area mainly consists of ice.
Antarctica is a lot smaller in summer than in winter, when the sea around the continent slowly freezes and adheres to the mainland. The difference in surface area between summer and winter is greater than the entire continent of Europe.
Moreover, the shape of the continent is constantly changing. This is due to the wind, which blows pieces of ice to other parts of Antarctica so that the area always looks a little different.
2- Antarctica Was Discovered Relatively Recently:
It is not so long ago that people first saw this continent in real life. It was James Heron who sailed in Antarctica in 1772 and saw the great ice floes up close for the first time.
The first expedition to the continent was organized at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By the way, that was not done in the name of science, but to hunt for precious seals.
The real South Pole was only reached for the first time in 1911. Many people died in the search for the southernmost part of the earth. The weather in Antarctica is so dangerous that many researchers never returned from their exploration. In 1911 the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen succeeded.
3- Antarctica Is a Desert:
It may seem contradictory, but the landscape in Antarctica is actually similar to that of the Sahara. The area is therefore known as a polar desert.
There you are not surrounded by sand everywhere, but by snow and ice. Although 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice, it is one of the driest regions in the world.
Rain almost never falls there. If it does rain, it will come down like snow. In total there are no more than 2.5 centimeters of rainfall per year.
4- There Is a Blood Waterfall:
This is one of the unknown facts about Antarctica.
Almost all the water in Antarctica is frozen, but there is still a waterfall. You can find these in the Dry Valleys of McMurdo.
The water flows under a thick layer of ice and then falls down more than five floors. The waterfall does not freeze because the water is way too salty for that. What makes this waterfall even more special is the red color.
This color is due to the fact that the water has never been exposed to oxygen and the high amount of iron and microbes in the water. That is why this waterfall is also called a blood waterfall.
5- There Is Enough Life:
You would say that life in Antarctica is virtually impossible. This is also true for humans, but animals know how to adapt.
There is one kind of insect, the Belgica Antarctica, these dance mosquitoes make a kind of natural antifreeze so that they can still survive on the continent.
And there are also the Antarctica penguins, which are almost exclusively found in the Southern hemisphere.
Both the famous King penguin and Emperor penguin can be found in Antarctica. But the smaller Gentoo penguin, Adelie penguin, Storm band penguin, and Southern rock penguin also feel at home on the cold continent.
6- Antarctica Was Once Tropical:
Scientists have drilled deep into this continent to investigate the history of Antarctica. On the basis of this land, they could discover that palm trees have grown on the continent in the past.
About 52 million years ago, the oceans were warm enough to create a tropical climate in Antarctica. There were also rain forests in the interior and tropical plants such as the macadamia and the baobab grew.
Clearly, a lot has changed between then and now, because now Antarctica is an ice cold desert that is almost completely covered by ice.
7- The Weather Is Very Rough:
Everyone who has the famous documentary “March of the Penguins” remembers the images of groups of penguins who do everything to stay warm in the turbulent weather in Antarctica.
Perhaps there is little rainfall, the wind is blowing at full power. In fact, Antarctica is the place with the most wind on the whole earth. With gusts of wind at 320 kilometers per hour, walking around the continent is no fun.
8- There Are Volcanoes in Antarctica:
As if this continent didn’t have enough to offer, Antarctica also has an active volcano. Mount Erebus towers over the Antarctic landscape and even has a flowing lava lake.
It is the southernmost active volcano, but despite its heat, Mount Erebus is simply hidden under a white layer of snow and ice.
This is by the way not the only volcano you can find on the continent. In total there are no less than 138 specimens to be found in Antarctica.
9- Antarctica Continent Stays Dark For Months:
Researchers staying in Antarctica have difficulty maintaining a normal day and night rhythm. This is due to the southern location of the continent and the slope of the globe.
In the winter, the sun cannot reach Antarctica at all, so it is dark for months. In the summer there is just the opposite problem. Then the sun never sets, so there is no difference between day and night.
It is difficult to determine what time it is anyway because Antarctica does not have an official time zone. All time zones in the world come together here, so it is impossible to say what time it is in Antarctica.
10- In Some Places It Never Rains:
This is the last facts among these amazing facts about Antarctica.
You already knew that Antarctica has very little rainfall, but did you also know that it is very little in some places?
There are parts of this continent where not a drop of water or snow has fallen for more than two million years. This is 1% of the continent where there is no snow or ice either.
According to scientists, these are the roughest deserts in the world, because there is almost no life possible in these places. The earth is very dry.