Antarctica’s fun and interesting facts


98% of Antarctica’s surface is covered with ice. 
Average thickness is 1.9 km, reaching up to 4 km at the thickest point of the Inlandsis.
 90% of the Earth’s fresh water is in Antarctica.

Breaking Icebergs in Antarctica


Antarctica is the fifth largest continent. It covers 14 000 000 km2.
 It is 1.5 times the size of the United States and twice the size of Australia.



Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth: temperatures can dip below -89 degrees Celsius (-128.6° F) at the high ridge in Antarctica on the East Antarctic Plateau. The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 14.5 degrees Celsius.
Antarctica is also the windiest place on the planet: winds can reach speeds of 320 km/h (200 mph). East Antarctica is colder than West Antarctica because of its higher elevation. The Antarctic Peninsula has the warmest climate on the continent.


Antarctica is the largest desert in the world.
In several places under the ice sheet, there are freshwater lakes.

Patriot Hills desert. (c)NASA


Antarctica has no indigenous population.
 It is inhabited by 1’500 scientists living in 52 bases.
 Population density is approximately 0.0001 habitant/km2.

Troll, a Norvegian research station located at Jutulsessen.


Antarctica was first discovered in 1820 by a Russian Expedition.

Faddey Bellingshausen (1778-1952), Russian Admiral and explorer, discoverer of Antarctica. Lithography by U. Schzeibach (У. Шзейбах)
F. Bellingshausen (1778-1952), discoverer of Antarctica. Lith: U. Schzeibach.


A treaty – signed by 38 countries in 1959 – prohibits military activities, mineral mining, nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal in Antarctica.
This treaty expires in 2048!


Antarctica has several nick-names: The Ice, the 6th continent or The Great white desert


Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone.


90% of all meteorites ever found come from Antarctica.

ALH84001, a martian meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1984. ©Nasa-Caltech
ALH84001, a martian meteorite discovered in Antarctica in 1984. ©Nasa-Caltech


Antarctica was once covered in rich green forests and inhabited by dinosaurs, during one of Earth’s warmest cycles, 200 million years ago.


Emilio Palma was the first human born in Antarctica. 
In 1977, Argentina sent a pregnant mother to Antarctica in an attempt to claim a portion of the continent.



Invertebrate life includes microscopic mites like the Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails. The flightless midge Belgica antarctica is the largest purely terrestrial animal. The snow petrel is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica. The emperor penguin is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica.

Snow Petrel
Snow Petrel


A valley deeper than the Grand Canyon is hidden under the ice of West Antarctica. Life exists thousands of feet under the ice: a species of tiny fish and other aquatic creatures were found at more than 730 meters (2400 feet) under the thick ice. Drilling into the ice, scientists removed cores that contain bubbles that froze as long as one million years ago, revealing the composition of ancient Earth’s atmosphere.

(c):Deep-SCINI UNL-Andrill SMO.
(c):Deep-SCINI UNL-Andrill SMO

Sources :,

Antarctica Slang and jargon