Today, we are going to learn something about Antarctica, the world’s highest, driest, windiest, coldest, and iciest continent. Antarctica is about 5.5 million square miles (14.2 million square km) in size, and thick ice covers about 98 percent of the land.
The continent is divided into East Antarctica (which is largely composed of a high ice-covered plateau) and West Antarctica (which is largely an ice sheet covering an archipelago of mountainous islands).
See below for some cool facts we have gathered for you.
1. The first person to reach the South Pole was Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer, who planted the Norwegian flag there in December 1911. He beat the Brits by only about a week.
2. The first person to be born in Antarctica was Argentine Emilio Marcos Palma. As a ploy to claim sovereignty over part of the continent, Argentina sent his pregnant mother there on purpose in 1977 so she could birth her child on a section of contested territory. Nicely played Argentina…nicely played.
3. Since surgeries are not performed at any of the research stations, you’re not allowed to work in Antarctica unless you have your wisdom teeth and appendix removed, even if there’s nothing wrong with them.
4. Quite a few sea creatures that live in Antarctica have natural antifreeze in their bodies, to prevent them from freezing solid.
5. There is only one ATM in all of Antarctica…but at least seven Christian Churches.
It’s all about priorities, apparently.
6. The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was in Antarctica, on a Russian station. It was July 21, 1983, when folks woke up to a frosty -89.2C.
7. The biggest danger faced by international research stations in Antarctica is fire. Due to excessively dry conditions, fires are easy to ignite and difficult to contain.