The Antarctica Continent is located at the bottom of the earth. And on the world map drawn in two-dimensional planes, the position of this continent is in the far south. Naturally, the south pole of the Earth’s magnetic induction is also located on this continent. Antarctica ranks fifth among continents in terms of size. But for many other reasons, Antarctica tops the list of all continents.
Antarctica Continent is both the coldest and driest continent in the world. In addition, about 90 percent of the world’s ice-cold drinking water is located on this continent. The list of such achievements in Antarctica is quite long. On the other hand, there is no shortage of rumors about Antarctica being the most inaccessible continent in the world.
Supporters of the bizarre claim that the Earth is not spherical like other planets in the solar system, for example, think that the continent of Antarctica is in fact just a wall of ice that surrounds the whole earth. However, such beliefs and statements are an expression of one’s ignorance of Antarctica and the world. Today’s post is to give you some tested information about this inaccessible and mysterious Antarctica continent.
How Big is Antarctica Continent
The total area of the Antarctica continent surrounded by the Southern Ocean is 14.2 million square kilometers or 55 million square miles. That means Antarctica is almost twice the size of the continent of Australia. And almost three times larger than the United States. Almost the entire continent, which is the fifth-largest continent in the world in terms of size, is covered with ice. The height of this ice on the land of Antarctica is about 3 miles in some places. However, the average height of Antarctic ice is about two kilometers or 6 thousand feet.
History of Antarctica Continent
Looking at the current appearance of the Antarctica continent, it may seem that it has been living in the ice age for eternity. But 160 million years ago, the location of this continent was close to the equator. At that time all the continents of the world were part of a super-continent called Pangea.
At that time Antarctica was covered with dense forests. Where all the giant dinosaurs roamed. Six hundred million years ago, the continent of Antarctica broke south of Pangea and began its journey to the south. Then there were the various species of plants and animals that roamed the continent for another 12 billion years. Although, one of these meteorite strikes wiped out all terrestrial and amphibian species of dinosaurs.
Scientists estimate that the first ice deposits on the continent of Antarctica began about 35 million years ago. Then, it takes at least 20 million more years to come to its present appearance. However, the worrying thing is that after being completely covered by ice, all the ice in Antarctica has melted more than once due to the effects of global warming. If so, be sure to read the post at the end to find out what happened in the past and what could happen in the future as a result of its global impact.
Among the existing landmasses on earth, Antarctica Continent came to the attention of the people after all. Surprisingly, the credit for discovering this continent goes to Russia, a country near the North Pole. In 1820, two Russian explorers, Fabian Gottlieb and Mikhail Lazarev, discovered the continent of Antarctica. The two expeditionary ships Vostok and Mirny crossed the Fimbul Ice Shelf off the coast of Antarctica that year.
Earlier, James Clu, who was credited with the discovery of Australia, crossed the South Ocean around Antarctica Continent four times between 1772 and 1775. But it was not possible for him to go south to see the land of Antarctica. Even more than 75 years after its discovery in 1820, there were no human footprints on this continent. That is because of Antarctica distance and remote weather. Finally, in 1895, a group of Norway’s explorers landed on the Antarctica continent. But the process of discovery of different features of the continent is still continuing. In 2013, scientists found out about several dormant volcanoes hidden in this ice-covered continent.
After landing in Antarctica Continent in 1895, multiple expeditions were launched to cross the entire continent, including the South Pole. By 1907, members of the Nimrod expedition had the distinction of reaching the magnetic south pole. The British expedition was led by Ernest Shackleton of Ireland. On their way to the magnetic south pole, the expedition first crossed the summit of an active volcano called Mount Erebus. On the way back from the magnetic south pole, however, Shackleton’s expedition was in dire straits. Their ship got stuck in the ice due to a sudden drop in temperature. In the end, the members of the expedition were forced to leave the ship and return on foot the rest of the way.
Following in the footsteps of these fearless explorers, Norway’s polar explorer Roald Amundsen was finally able to conquer the geographical South Pole. On December 14, 1911, Amundsen and his team achieved this feat. Exactly one month later, a British expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott reached the geographical South Pole. Unfortunately, all members of this group, including Scott, died on the way back. The tragic accident happened when the team lost its supplies due to a heavy snowstorm.
Antarctic Treaty System
Of all the continents on earth, there are no indigenous people in Antarctica. So no town, nation or state was formed here. However, the continent is governed by an international treaty. Under the 1959 agreement, the continent of Antarctica could only be used for constructive scientific activities. Even then, no scientific experiment can be carried out here that directly and indirectly harms the environment and biodiversity.
The treaty, known as the Antarctic Treaty System, came into force in 1981. At that time the number of signatories to this agreement was 12. The countries are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. These 12 countries have more than 50 research centers established and controlled in different parts of the continent of Antarctica. Currently, the total number of signatories to the Antarctic Treaty is fifty-five.
What is the main purpose of the Antarctic Treaty?
According to the Antarctic Treaty System, this continent can only be used for constructive scientific work. Following this agreement, at least five thousand scientists from more than twenty-eight countries settle on the continent every summer. During the six months of the year, they conducted isolated research in Antarctica. During this time, research centers in Antarctica became their temporary address.
The US-controlled McMurdo station is the largest of these research centers. About one thousand scientists and researchers gather at this center every summer. These include biologists, geologists, oceanographers, physicists, astronomers, glacier experts and astronomical experts.
In addition to various studies, tourism in Antarctica is also becoming quite popular these days. Some organizations organize naval monasteries there every summer.
Antarctica Continent Weather
Scientists have divided the continent of Antarctica into two parts. West Antarctica lies to the west of the Transantarctic Mountains, which stretch from one end of the continent to the other. And formerly East Antarctica.
West Antarctica is located in the Western Hemisphere and East Antarctica is in the Eastern Hemisphere, as the Transantarctic Mountains extend along zero degrees longitude. In terms of size, East Antarctica is about ten times larger than the western part. Moreover, the land mass of East Antarctica is relatively rocky and the thickness of the ice is much higher. According to scientific research, about 70 percent of the ice in Antarctica is located in East Antarctica.
Antarctica is said to be the coldest and driest continent in the world. The lowest temperature ever recorded on this continent was minus 89.2° Celsius. The temperature was recorded on July 21, 1983 at the Russian research center Vost. However, the minimum temperature on this continent is usually around minus 80° Celsius.
In contrast, the maximum temperature on this continent usually fluctuates between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. However, on February 9, 2020, the maximum temperature recorded here was 20.75° Celsius. Besides, the average annual rainfall in this continent is only 4 mm. This means that the Sahara desert receives almost twice as much rainfall each year as Antarctica. That is why Antarctica is the largest desert in the world.
Wildlife of Antarctica Continent
Although the continent of Antarctica is depopulated, it is not devoid of biodiversity. Multiple species of marine animals live here. Of these, the world’s largest creature the blue whale, the Orca or the killer whale, the giant squid are particularly notable. Other amphibians include emperors, kings, chinstrap, and Adele penguins. There are also eye-catching fur seals.
The continent of Antarctica plays an important role in controlling the world’s climate. That is why this continent is called the deep freeze of the earth. In addition, about 90 percent of the world’s fresh water is stored on the continent as ice. The problem is that the amount of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, in the Earth’s atmosphere is increasing alarmingly for a variety of man-made reasons. As a result, global warming is having an impact in far-flung Antarctica.
As the ice in West Antarctica is relatively more fragile, huge amounts of ice have already melted into the sea. Scientists fear that if this trend continues, the consequences of the relatively strong ice of East Antarctica over the next century will be the same. But if all the ice in Antarctica melts, the global sea level will rise by about 20 meters or 65 feet. As a result, almost all the coastal towns will be lost to the sea.
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