Last updated on February 20th, 2017 at 06:49 am
Antarctica is the Coldest and Driest Continent on Earth. The southernmost continent formed around 25 million years back is situated in the Antarctic region and occupies the area of around 14 000 000 square kilometres of which vast majority is covered by ice. The ice is reaching on average incredible 1.9 kilometres in thickness.
The whole continent is surrounded by the Southern Ocean and possess lots of primacies, such as being the coldest, driest (despite the ice) or windiest continent of them all, with temperatures dropping down to -89°C. Naturally, it also contains the South Pole.
The extreme and hostile natural environment with freezing temperatures, massive ice and snow layers and rugged and icy mountain peaks create and exotic essence.
Antarctica has no indigenous population. However, even despite the challenging conditions, the continent has more than 130 permanent residents living in research stations plus higher number of scientists, support workers and tourists throughout the year.
Discovery of this land came in early 19th century by a Russian expedition. However, the hostile conditions on the continent prevented its deeper exploration until the following century, mostly due to the lack of resources and technologies as well as the massive isolation of Antarctica from the rest of the world.
On the opposite site of the lack of vegetation and flora Antarctica has in general (due to the extreme weather conditions), there are several animals native to the continent – such as penguins, seals, whales, orcas, colossal squids, mites and other small organisms.
The area is covered by number of glacial lakes, incredible snow surface, rocks and ice formations (including ice shelves, ice walls and glaciers breaking into the ocean along the coast). The biodiversity and uniqueness of Antarctica are subjects to the conservation policy and research experiments.
The size of Antarctica varies throughout the year, depending on the season as the ice expands almost double its size during winter season. However, despite all the extremes and low temperatures, the massive ice land is in a great danger due to the global warming and rising global temperature.