No place in the world can compare with a huge white desert, where there are four main elements: snow, ice, water and rocks. The greatness of its ice shelves and mountain chains further emphasizes the splendor of nature.
Everyone who comes to the most isolated continent must make a difficult journey or a long flight. Of course, we are talking about Antarctica, a terrific place where all the extremes of our Earth seem to be concentrated. Here are the 10 most amazing facts about this mysterious continent.
Read also: What distinguishes the Arctic from Antarctica and Antarctica and what do they have in common?
1. There are no polar bears in Antarctica
Polar bears live not in Antarctica, but in the Arctic. Penguins inhabit most of Antarctica, but it is unlikely that a penguin will encounter a polar bear in natural conditions. Polar bears live in such areas as northern Canada, Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Norway. In Antarctica, too cold, because there are no polar bears. However, recently, scientists are starting to think about populating polar bears on Antarctica, as the Arctic is gradually melting.
2. There are rivers in Antarctica
One of them is the Onyx River, which carries the thawed waters to the east. The Onyx River flows to Lake Wanda located in the Dry Wright Valley . Because of extreme climatic conditions, it flows only two months during the Antarctic summer. Its length is 40 km, and although there is no fish, microorganisms and algae live in this river.
3. The Dryest Place on Earth
One of the most interesting facts about Antarctica is the contrast between the dry climate and the amount of water (70 percent of fresh water). This continent is the driest place on our planet. Even in the hottest desert of the world there is more rain than in the Dry valleys of Antarctica. In fact, the whole of the South Pole has about 10 cm of precipitation a year.
4. Residents of Antarctica
There are no permanent residents in Antarctica. The only people who live there for a certain period of time are those who are part of the temporary scientific communities. In summer, the number of scientists and support staff is about 5000 people, whereas in winter there are no more than 1000 people working here.
5. Who owns Antarctica?
There is no government in Antarctica, and not one country in the world owns this continent. Despite the fact that many countries tried to obtain ownership of these lands, an agreement was reached that gives Antarctica the privilege of remaining the only region on Earth that is not managed by any country.
6. In the search for meteorites
One of the interesting facts about this continent is the fact that Antarctica is the best place to find meteorites. Apparently, the meteorites that hit the Antarctic ice sheet remain better than in any other place on Earth. Fragments of meteorites from Mars are the most valuable and unexpected discoveries. Probably, the speed of liberation from this planet had to be about 18,000 km / h, in order for the meteorite to reach Earth.
7. The absence of time zones
This is the only continent without time zones. Scientific communities in Antarctica, as a rule, adhere to the time associated with their native land, or compare time in accordance with the supply line, which supplies them with food and important things. Here you can go through all 24 time zones in a few seconds.
8. Animals of Antarctica
This is the only place on Earth where you can find Imperial penguins . These are the highest and largest of all kinds of penguins. Also, the imperial penguins are the only species that breeds during the Antarctic winter, while the Adélie penguin multiplies in comparison to other species in the southernmost part of the continent. Of the 17 penguin species, 6 species are found in Antarctica.
Despite the fact that for the blue whales, killer whales and fur seals this continent is also hospitable, Antarctica is not rich in land animals. One of the largest forms of life here is an insect, the wingless midge Belgica antarctica , about 1.3 cm long. There are no flying insects due to extreme windy conditions. However, among the penguin colonies you can find black-tailed tails that jump like fleas. In addition, Antarctica is the only continent on which there are no native species of ants.
9. Global Warming
The largest land covered with ice is Antarctica, where 90 percent of the world’s ice is concentrated. The average thickness of ice in Antarctica is about 2133 m. If all ice in Antarctica melts, the sea level in the world will rise by 61 m. But the average temperature on the continent is -37 degrees Celsius, because there is no danger of melting. In fact, in most of the continent the temperature will never be above zero.
10. The largest iceberg
Iceberg B-15 is one of the largest recorded icebergs. Its length is about 295 km, the width is about 37 km, and the surface area is 11,000 sq. M. km, which is more than the island of Jamaica. Its approximate mass was about 3 billion tons. And after almost a decade, parts of this iceberg have not melted yet.