Antarctica is one of the most mysterious places on Planet Earth, the harsh and unforgiving climate makes it hard for the average Joe to access. The icy plains hide many secrets left for us to discover and the area is so vast that there are some places that no humans have ever set foot on.
So, we took the liberty of bringing you the most insane facts about Antarctica that are completely true. You will be completely mind blown about some of the secrets this amazing and beautiful place holds.
1.) Some places haven’t received snow in 2 million years
You would think that the entire continent of Antarctica would be covered in an icy blanket of snow but you would be wrong there. Around 1% (2,500 miles) of Antarctica is permanently ice-free! These areas are actually considered to be the world’s harshest deserts and haven’t seen rain or snow in 2 million years. A slightly worrying fact is that scientists predict this could expand by 25% by the end of the 21st century, this would have a huge impact on the animals and nature in the area. The Antarctic really is a place of extremes!
2.) Antarctica holds 70% of the world’s fresh water
3.) Antarctica has the most Meteorites
More meteorites are found in Antarctica than anywhere else in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that the climate is so dry and cold in Antarctica that there is no chance of corrosion. Furthermore, they are obviously easy to spot in the blindingly white snow and ice!
4.) The largest iceberg in Antarctica is bigger than Jamaica!
Antarctica is home to the world’s largest iceberg, Iceberg B-15. This huge chunk of ice is 183 miles long and 23 miles wide, the surface area is 4,200 square miles. That would be one long helicopter ride!
5.) Average ice-sheet thickness is a mile
Antarctica is completely covered in a thick layer of ice. The thickness obviously varies depending on the location, however, the average thickness is a mile! We certainly don’t fancy cliff diving there…
6.) World’s oldest sperm was found in Antarctica
7.) Antarctica was once a tropical continent
This one seriously blew our minds but Antarctica really was once a tropical paradise! How could this be? Well, 52 million years ago, the concentration of Carbon Dioxide was twice as high as it is today and the climate was hotter. We could see another tropical Antarctic paradise in a few hundred years though as emissions continue to rise.
8.) Antarctica shifted the Earth’s gravitational pull
The effects of climate change are so intense that gravity is changing. The Antarctic lost so much ice in only three years that it shifted Earth’s gravitational pull!
9.) 300 large lakes reside under the ice
More than 300 large lakes have been identified under the Antarctic ice. They don’t freeze thanks to the warmth coming from the Earth’s core, imagine the number of undiscovered creatures that could be residing within these lakes!
10.) Sledge dogs are banned in Antarctica
11.) Antarctica set the record for the lowest surface temperature on Earth
In Antarctica, the lowest recorded temperature ever is -98 °C (-144 °F). This is the coldest surface temperature ever recorded on Earth! We complain when it’s minus one degree outside, we cannot even imagine how cold minus 98 degrees feels like…
12.) There are two towns in Antarctica
The largest town in Antarctica is Villa Las Estrellas (The Stars Town). This town was founded in 1984 and has a school, hospital, hostel, post office, internet and even TV and mobile phone coverage! The smaller town of Esperanza Base is more of a research station. However, the town inhabits 55 people in the winter and has 10 families!
13.) Antarctica is one of the only places not colonized by ants
Antarctica, The Arctic and some other remote islands are the only places in the world not colonized by ants – lucky! Thanks to the almost inhospitable climates, ants haven’t been able to crawl all over Antarctica.
14.) Highest recorded Antarctica temperature was 17.5 °C (63.5 °F)
In 2015, the highest temperature recorded on the Antarctica continent was made. This was near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, somewhere that you would think would be the coldest!
15.) Mount Erebus is a rare consistently active volcano on Earth
16.) Antarctica has no official time zone
Antarctica is mostly uninhabited and so the continent cannot be officially divided into time zones. However, the official research centres scattered throughout Antarctica operate on the time zone of the country that occupies them. So, one research centre may be operating on New Zealand time and the next Mexico!
17.) Antarctica is twice the size of Australia
The surface area of the Antarctica is around 5,400,000 sq mi (14,000,000 sq km). Antarctica is double the size of Australia, 1.5 times the size of the United States and 50 times the size of the UK! It’s such a huge area that only has a handful of people brave enough to live there.
18.) Winds can reach 200 miles an hour!
Antarctica an get pretty breezy with winds reaching highs of 200mph, making it one of the windiest places on Earth! Thanks to the low temperatures and shape of the continent, the winds really do pick up quite a pace. The wind picks up the snow and moves it around, making it look like it snows a lot on Antarctica, which, contrary to popular belief, it actually rarely does.
19.) Antarctica has an ATM
I’m sure the last thing you would think about doing on Antarctica is drawing out some cash but the continent actually does have one ATM at the McMurdo Station, the largest science hub on the continent.