Antarctica is the earth’s southernmost continent. It is situated in the Antarctic region, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Antarctica is the fifth largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. Almost 98% of Antartica is covered with ice which is 62,000ft in thickness.
Antarctica is the world’s most coldest and lease population place, and the highest averages elevation of all the continents, there has been no rain there for almost 2 million years, and 80% of the world’s fresh water stored there , enough to raise the global sea level.
Who discovered antarctica ?
TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, Captain James cook was the british explorer, he spent three years looking for Antartica during his second voyage from 1772-1775. The expedition took Cook and his men into the Antarctic Circle, but the explorer eventually called it quits after failing to find the continent.
Cook was convinced there was more to the story, though. “I firmly believe that there is a tract of land near the Pole, which is the Source of most of the ice which is spread over this vast Southern Ocean,” he wrote at the expedition’s end, but “The risk one runs in exploring a coast in these unknown and Icy Seas, is so very great, that I can be bold to say, that no man will ever venture farther than I have done and that the lands which may lie to the South will never be explored.” As it turned out, Cook had been just 80 miles from the continent’s coast at one point in his journey.
In 1819, Russia tasked Fabian von Bellingshausen with going further south than Cook. On January 27, 1820, he looked toward solid ice that was likely an ice shelf attached to Antarctic land now known as Queen Maud Land. Unbeknownst to him, he had company: Three days later, British naval officer Edward Bransfield spotted the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Though von Bellingshausen was technically the first to see the unknown continent, writes historian David Day, his accomplishment was hidden for decades by an incorrect translation of his journal that led historians to assume he hadn’t actually seen land. Americans weren’t far behind: John Davis, a sealer and explorer, was the first person to step foot on Antarctic land in 1821.
Animals in antarctica
In Antarctica, some species of marine animals exist Antarctic sea life includes penguins, blue whales, orcas, colossal squids and fur seals. The emperor penguin is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica, while the Adelie penguin breeds farther south than any other penguin.
Whales never breed in Antarctica, preferring the more temperate climates for their young. However, Antarctica is actually a hot spot for whales due to the rich pickings of marine food, including large numbers of krill!
Therefore, all Antarctic whale species migrate south during the summer months to take advantage of the nutrient rich sea. The rich marine life is what makes Antarctica the perfect place to go whale watching.
Each year, scientists from 28 different nations conduct experiments not reproducible in any other place in the world. In the summer more than 4,000 scientists operate research stations; this number decreases to just over 1,000 in the winter. McMurdo station, which is the largest research station in Antarctica, is capable of housing more than 1,000 scientists, visitors, and tourists.
Since the 1970s an important focus of study has been the ozone layer in the atmosphere above Antarctica. In 1985, three British scientists working on data they had gathered at Halley Station( A research facility in Antarctica established to study the earth’s atmosphere) on the Brunt Ice Shelf discovered the existence of a hole in this layer.
In September 2006, NASA satellite data revealed that the Antarctic ozone hole was larger than at any other time on record, at 2,750,000 km2 (1,060,000 sq mi). The impacts of the depleted ozone layer on climate changes occurring in Antarctica are not well understood.
In 2007, The Polar Geospatial Center was founded. The Polar Geospatial Center uses geospatial and remote sensing technology to provide mapping services to American federally funded research teams. Currently, the Polar Geospatial Center can image all of Antarctica at 500 mm (20 in) resolution every 45 days.
On 6 September 2007, Belgian-based International Polar Foundation unveiled the Princess Elisabeth station, the world’s first zero-emissions polar science station in Antarctica to research climate change, costing $16.3 million.
In January 2008, British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientists, led by Hugh Corr and David Vaughan, reported (in the journal Nature Geoscience) that 2,200 years ago, a volcano erupted under Antarctica’s ice sheet. The biggest eruption in Antarctica in the last 10,000 years, the volcanic ash was found deposited on the ice surface under the Hudson Mountains, close to Pine Island Glacier.
Meteorites from Antarctica are an important area of study, the first meteorite was found in 1912, and named the Adelie Land meteorite. In 1969, a Japanese expedition discovered nine meteorites. Most of these meteorites have fallen onto the ice sheet in the last million years. Compared with meteorites collected in more temperate regions on Earth, the Antarctic meteorites are well-preserved.
In January 2013 an 18 kg meteorite was discovered frozen in ice on the Nansen ice field by a Search for Antarctic Meteorites, Belgian Approach (SAMBA) mission.