Antarctica is a vast continent and so, just 40 facts broken down into 2 articles found here and here cannot be enough to cover everything about the continent. So, a third article makes sense. In this article, let us take a look at some of the most fascinating Antarctica facts that you simply love to read. Let’s start…
Antarctica Facts: 1-5
1. Antarctica’s actual size is not really constant. During winters, the size of the continent almost doubles. This happens because of thick ice sheets that form along the coasts during the winter months.
2. For our convenience, we have divided the whole of the continent into two distinct parts – West Antarctica and East Antarctica.
3. West Antarctica makes up only 1/3rd of the whole continent. East Antarctica makes up the remaining 2/3rd of the continent. East Antarctica is nearly as big as Australia.
4. West Antarctica is not a continuous land mass. It is in fact, a series of islands that are frozen. These islands stretch out towards the tip of South America.
5. The East Antarctica and the West Antarctica are separated by a range of mountains called the Transantarctic Mountains. These mountains stretch across the entire continent.
Antarctica Facts: 6-10
6. The ice sheet covering the East Antarctica has an average thickness of 1.2 miles or about 2 kilometers.
7. The Antarctic ice sheet is not really a smooth sheet. It is an expanse of continuously changing ice. There are massive glaciers that continuously inch across the whole continent.
8. The moving glaciers actually create what is known as Crevasse fields that have cracks that run hundreds of feet in depth. These cracks can be found across the whole of the continent.
9. The cracks on the Crevasse fields are often covered with a shallow snow layer that fool people into thinking that the ice covering is smooth and continuous.
10. The continent is covered by ice. Despite having so much of ice, the continent is considered as desert because of the very low amounts of precipitation it receives from sky. This makes Antarctica as the largest desert in world.
Antarctica Facts: 11-15
11. The amount of precipitation received by inner parts of the continent is way less than the amount of precipitation received in the coastal areas. Inner parts receive amount 2 inches of precipitation annually while the coastal areas receive about 8 inches annually.
12. Antarctica is home for colossal blizzards. They are basically snowstorms just like sandstorms found in sandy deserts. The high speed wind is responsible for picking up snow from ground and blowing it at a speed of around 200 miles an hour, creating white blanket with near zero visibility.
13. The seasons found in Antarctica are very opposite to that found in north. The continent is in south of the planet, the summer months start from October and end in February. Rest of the months are winter months.
14. Antarctica has vegetation but that’s not in form of bushes or trees. They vegetation on the continent is composed of algae, lichen and mosses.
Antarctica Facts: 16-20
16. The male Emperor Penguin found in Antarctica is the only warm-blooded animal that lives on the continent during the freezing winter. The male actually nests on the single egg that the female Emperor Penguin lays.
17. The female Emperor Penguin, after laying the egg, goes away and spends time in the sea. The female will spend 9 weeks in sea only to return when it is time for the egg to hatch.
18. Antarctica is the best place to find meteorites because it the dark rocks are easy to spot against the backdrop of the white glittering snow.
19. Antarctica was world’s last continent to be discovered (officially) in 1820. There are however various claims from famous historians that Antarctica was discovered much before and that there are ancient maps that show ice-free Antarctica.
20. Here’s a fun Antarctica fact: Toss boiling water in air and it was vaporize instantly. Some of particles will however convert in small ice pieces.