Antarctica Facts

Antarctica is a place of mystery and complete fascination. What little we know about Antarctica is vast because it is a region of the world that has hardly been explored. This is a place of wonder and lots of ice.

You will be amazed with this continent. Antarctica is located in the southernmost tip of the world. The Antarctic region is one of the earth’s biggest landmasses.

The mysteries in Antarctica ranging from blood red water falls to truly perplexing contradictions make it one of the most misunderstood places on earth.

Learn more about this fascinating part of the earth. Antarctica has many mysteries that will fascinate anyone.  Read below to discover more about Antarctica and all of these fascinating facts.

Antarctica is the Largest Mass of Ice in the Entire World

largest  mass of ice

First and foremost what needs to be known is that Antarctica in its entirety has a surface area of around or more 14 million km or 8.6 million miles! This is huge of course.

In general, the Antarctic Ice Sheet would be considered by far the largest  mass of ice in the world. In specific parts, the Antarctic ice sheet could be around four miles thick in spots.

Just in the eastern  part of Antarctica, the ice sheet is on a major land mass, which is huge. And in Western Antarctica the ice goes down  around 2500 meters below sea level!


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Despite Being Full of Ice, Antarctica is a Desert

Desert Antarctica

With all the freshwater and ice how could it be even possible that Antarctica is ice? Well, these are some of the more fascinating facts about this continent.

Even though many think of sand dunes and heat with deserts there is Antarctica where  a desert is technically defined as any region on earth that gets very little annual precipitation.

For example, usually the normal annual rainfall in the South Pole region has been consistently not much over 10 mm 0.4 inches.There is more rain and moisture in other parts of the Antarctic coast, but still most of all of this continent would be classified  as a polar desert.

All of the ice on Antarctica has taken 45 million years to accumulate to its present day thickness and mass. The little rainfall has not affected this build up because Antarctica is also the coldest, windiest and highest on the entire earth. Any rain or moisture on this continent will stay for a very long time.


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Antarctica is the Fifth Largest Continent in the World

Fifth Largest Continent

Many people don’t realize how large the continent of Antarctica is in general. The massive size of the land mass is stunning for many to comprehend.

In comparison, Antarctica, as the fifth largest continent, is much bigger than Europe or Australia even! The different parts of Antarctica are so large it is hard to realize.

For example, Antarctica had at one time some of the biggest icebergs. The icebergs were so big that they broke world records. For example, around 20 years ago, a massive piece of ice the size that would be comparable to the size of the US state of Delaware happened to separate! In its entirety, the complete surface area of this iceberg was over 4,000 sq miles or 11,000 sq kilometers.


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Antarctica is a Massive and Vital World Region for Freshwater Ice

Antarctica freshwater ice

All in all, the continent of Antarctica contains about 90 percent of the planet’s total freshwater ice. As well, Antarctica includes most of the world’s total freshwater on earth.

One very surprising fact is that if all the ice of Antarctica melted, then there would be a disaster for sure. Why? Because all that melted ice would be sufficient water to increase the earth’s sea level by 200 feet, which is shocking!

Statistically, another important thing to consider is that the ice sheet on Antarctica extends to about 2500 meters below sea level!


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Antarctica Does not Officially Have Time Zones Unlike any Other Place in the World

Antarctica Time Zones

It is a very odd fact that  Antarctica does not have a formal time zone division or zone. For example, most if all countries are divided into time zones, but this is not the case for Antarctica because it is not  inhabited with people.

Some other strange facts include that the South Pole in Antarctica is the specific point where the Earth’s longitudes meet in one area. The reason why this is important is because longitude lines are where the different time zones are formed around the globe.

So, in theory, being that Antarctica is where the longitude lines meet then any time zone can technically be used there. Lastly, in summary, since Antarctica can be either 6 months of darkness or light then days and night markers are not needed, so time zones are useless!


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Antarctica Used to Have a Climate as Warm as Australia at One Time

Antarctica Warm Climate

At one time, Antarctica had a climate as warm as Australia, specifically Melbourne. This may seem hard to believe since temperatures in Antarctica are extreme. For example, the coldest temperature on land was captured and recorded in Antarctica. This cold temperature was -89.2°Celsius or -128.6°Fahrenheit.

However, at one time, Antarctica was once about as hot or comparable to the city weather you would see in Melbourne today. It was about 40 to 50 million years ago that Antarctica had a regular temperature closer to 17°Celsius or 62.6°Fahrenheit.

Fossils found from archeological digs have shown that Antarctica at one time had more abundant forests. Yes, at one time Arctica had more natural green forests, and it even had dinosaurs!


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There is Only One Direction in Antarctica and it is North

Antarctica NORTH DIRECTION

Wherever you are in the landmass of Antarctica you are at the southernmost point of the entire Earth. The south pole is a very unique and odd place to be on earth for sure because of the limited directions you can go overall.

According to the prime meridian, which is defined as the earth’s zero of longitude. This line or convention passes through the city of Greenwich, England. Therefore if you stand at the South Pole and face towards Greenwich, everything on the left is west Antarctica and anything to your right is east Antarctica.

In summary, it means nothing where you look because every direction is north.


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There is a Waterfall in Antarctica that Flows Red and Looks Like Blood

Antarctica Waterfall Looks Like Blood

The incredible and fascinating nature of Antarctica is more surprising than many realize. For one, there is a lake that flows water that is bloody red. It is a sight to see and quite unique as well. This subglacial lake was first discovered in 1911 on a remote glacier in the Eastern part of Antarctica.

Basically, a normal glacier, in particular Taylor Glacier, which is like any other snow white glacial entity was oozing red. In particular, this glacier would usually be stained a stark and visible red by water flowing from deep within the glacier. However, this red water and stain continued to be a mystery, but in 2017 scientists made a discovery.

In summary, this particular blood red water coming from within the glacier. As well, this water was from a subglacial lake that contains a high amount of salt and oxidised iron, which when it is in contact with oxygen becomes red or iron rusted.


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The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded On Earth was in Antarctica

antarctica coldest temperature

Many places get cold but many have not made a world record. Antarctica broke a world record just about 40 years ago. However, since then more records have been broken.

It has been recorded that the lowest temperature ever to have been recorded or captured was originally in Antarctica. The first world record broken was taken down for the history books at Russia’s Vostok Station. The coldest temperature in Antarctica was -89.2°Celsius -128.6°Fahrenheit was recorded in July of 1983.

Recently, there has been evidence from a  Nasa satellite data from east Antarctica showing an even colder temperature. A new cold record was broken on earth for coldest temperature ever recorded was claimed in 2010.  This new world record was -94.7 Celsius  -135.8 Fahrenheit.

This world temperature record was recorded again in August 2010. Consistently, Antarctica proves to have the coldest temperatures on earth!


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Antarctica is Known for Being a Meteorite Hotspot in the World

antarctica Meteorite Hotspot

Antarctica is the place to find meteorites more than any other place in the world. In comparison, Antarctica is ideal as a spot to retrieve and notice meteorites.

In this continent, the white expanse and the ice drifts are what make it perfect for noticing meteorites more so than any other plane on earth! With such a white and undeveloped land, meteorite exploration is easier in Antarctica as well.

There are special spots where the meteorites will fall. For example,  the meteorites may get stuck or lodged in concentrated or unique spots in Antarctica. In general, the bone dry winds will wear down on the ice thus making the meteorites more exposed and visible.

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