Antarctica (UK English /ænˈtɑːktɪkə/ or /ænˈtɑːtɪkə/, US
English /æntˈɑːrktɪkə/ ( listen))[note 1] is Earth's
southernmost continent. It contains the geographic
South Pole and is
situated in the
Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost
entirely south of the
Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the
Southern Ocean. At 14,000,000 square kilometres (5,400,000 square
miles), it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica
is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of
covered by ice that averages 1.9 km (1.2 mi; 6,200 ft)
in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest
continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the
Antarctica is a desert, with annual precipitation of
only 200 mm (8 in) along the coast and far less inland.
The temperature in
Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C
(−128.6 °F) (or even −94.7 as measured from space),
though the average for the third quarter (the coldest part of the
year) is −63 °C (−81 °F). Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000
people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered
across the continent. Organisms native to
Antarctica include many
types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain
animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra.
Although myths and speculation about a
Terra Australis ("Southern
Land") date back to antiquity,
Antarctica is noted as the last region
Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when
the Russian expedition of
Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen
Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and
Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf. The
continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the
19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily
accessible resources, and isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed
landing was conducted by a team of Norwegians.
Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the
Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries
Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and thirty-eight have signed it
since then. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral
mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal,
supports scientific research, and protects the continent's ecozone.
Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from
2 History of exploration
4.1 Geological history and palaeontology
4.1.1 Palaeozoic era (540–250 Ma)
Mesozoic era (250–66 Ma)
Gondwana breakup (160–23 Ma)
4.1.4 Neogene Period (23–0.05 Ma)
Desert Formation biota
7.4 Other organisms
Ice mass and global sea level
12 Effects of global warming
14 See also
17 External links
Adelie penguins in Antarctica
Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound
word ἀνταρκτική (antarktiké), feminine of
ἀνταρκτικός (antarktikós), meaning "opposite to the
Arctic", "opposite to the north".
Aristotle wrote in his book
Meteorology about an
Antarctic region in
c. 350 B.C.
Marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his
unpreserved world map from the 2nd century A.D. The Roman authors
Apuleius (1–2 centuries A.D.) used for the South Pole
the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived
Old French pole antartike (modern pôle antarctique) attested in
1270, and from there the
Middle English pol antartik in a 1391
technical treatise by
Geoffrey Chaucer (modern
Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was
used for other locations that could be defined as "opposite to the
north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in
Brazil in the 16th century was called "
The first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name in
the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George
History of exploration
Main article: History of Antarctica
See also: List of
Antarctic expeditions and Women in Antarctica
Antarctica has no indigenous population and there is no evidence that
it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, belief in the
existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of
the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe,
Asia and North
Africa—had existed since the times of
Ptolemy (1st century AD), who
suggested the idea to preserve the symmetry of all known landmasses in
the world. Even in the late 17th century, after explorers had found
South America and
Australia were not part of the fabled
"Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger
than its actual size.
Painting of James Weddell's second expedition in 1823, depicting the
brig Jane and the cutter Beaufroy
Integral to the story of the origin of the name "Antarctica" is how it
was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia
instead, and it was because of a mistake made by people who decided
that a significant landmass would not be found farther south than
Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited
with popularising the transfer of the name
Terra Australis to
Australia. He justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra
Australis (1814) by writing in the introduction:
There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of
nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude;
Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the
geographical importance of this country and of its situation on the
globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to
either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable
than any other which could have been selected.
The First Russian
Antarctic expedition 1819–1821.
European maps continued to show this hypothesised land until Captain
James Cook's ships, HMS Resolution and Adventure, crossed the
Antarctic Circle on 17 January 1773, in December 1773 and again in
January 1774. Cook came within about 120 km (75 mi) of
Antarctic coast before retreating in the face of field ice in
January 1773. The first confirmed sighting of
Antarctica can be
narrowed down to the crews of ships captained by three individuals.
According to various organisations (the National Science
Foundation, NASA, the University of California, San Diego,
Russian State Museum of the
Arctic and Antarctic, among
others), ships captained by three men sighted
its ice shelf in 1820: von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Imperial
Edward Bransfield (a captain in the Royal Navy), and
Nathaniel Palmer (a sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut).
The First Russian
Antarctic expedition led by Bellingshausen and
Mikhail Lazarev on the 985-ton sloop-of-war Vostok ("East") and the
530-ton support vessel Mirny ("Peaceful") reached a point within
32 km (20 mi) from
Queen Maud's Land
Queen Maud's Land and recorded the sight
of an ice shelf at 69°21′28″S 2°14′50″W / 69.35778°S
2.24722°W / -69.35778; -2.24722, on 27 January, which
became known as the Fimbul ice shelf. This happened three days before
Bransfield sighted land, and ten months before Palmer did so in
November 1820. The first documented landing on
Antarctica was by the
American sealer John Davis, apparently at Hughes Bay, near Cape
West Antarctica on 7 February 1821, although some
historians dispute this claim. The first recorded and
confirmed landing was at Cape Adair in 1895.
South Pole Party (left to right): Wild, Shackleton,
Marshall and Adams
Roald Amundsen and his crew looking at the Norwegian flag at the South
Dumont d'Urville Station, an example of modern human settlement in
On 22 January 1840, two days after the discovery of the coast west of
the Balleny Islands, some members of the crew of the 1837–40
Jules Dumont d'Urville
Jules Dumont d'Urville disembarked on the highest
islet of a group of rocky islands about 4 km from Cape
Géodésie on the coast of
Adélie Land where they took some mineral,
algae and animal samples.
In December 1839, as part of the
United States Exploring Expedition
United States Exploring Expedition of
1838–42 conducted by the
United States Navy
United States Navy (sometimes called the
"Ex. Ex.", or "the Wilkes Expedition"), an expedition sailed from
Sydney, Australia, into the
Antarctic Ocean, as it was then known, and
reported the discovery "of an
Antarctic continent west of the Balleny
Islands" on 25 January 1840. That part of
Antarctica was later named
"Wilkes Land", a name it retains to this day.
James Clark Ross
James Clark Ross passed through what is now known as the Ross
Sea and discovered
Ross Island (both of which were named after him) in
1841. He sailed along a huge wall of ice that was later named the Ross
Mount Erebus and Mount Terror are named after two ships
from his expedition: HMS Erebus and Terror.
Mercator Cooper landed
East Antarctica on 26 January 1853.
Nimrod Expedition led by
Ernest Shackleton in 1907, parties
Edgeworth David became the first to climb
Mount Erebus and to
reach the South Magnetic Pole. Douglas Mawson, who assumed the
leadership of the Magnetic Pole party on their perilous return, went
on to lead several expeditions until retiring in 1931. In
addition, Shackleton himself and three other members of his expedition
made several firsts in December 1908 – February 1909: they were
the first humans to traverse the Ross
Ice Shelf, the first to traverse
Transantarctic Mountains (via the Beardmore Glacier), and the
first to set foot on the South Polar Plateau. An expedition led by
Norwegian polar explorer
Roald Amundsen from the ship
Fram became the
first to reach the geographic
South Pole on 14 December 1911, using a
route from the
Bay of Whales
Bay of Whales and up the Axel Heiberg Glacier. One
month later, the doomed Scott Expedition reached the pole.
Richard E. Byrd
Richard E. Byrd led several voyages to the
Antarctic by plane in the
1930s and 1940s. He is credited with implementing mechanised land
transport on the continent and conducting extensive geological and
biological research. The first women to set foot on
so in the 1930s with
Caroline Mikkelsen landing on an island of
Antarctica in 1935, and
Ingrid Christensen stepping onto the
mainland in 1937.
It was not until 31 October 1956 that anyone set foot on the South
Pole again; on that day a U.S. Navy group led by Rear Admiral George
J. Dufek successfully landed an aircraft there. The first women to
step onto the
South Pole were Pam Young, Jean Pearson, Lois Jones,
Eileen McSaveney, Kay Lindsay and Terry Tickhill in 1969.
The first person to sail single-handed to
Antarctica was the New
Zealander David Henry Lewis, in 1972, in the 10-metre steel sloop Ice
Main article: Geography of Antarctica
Extreme points of Antarctica and List of
Labeled map of Antarctica
Positioned asymmetrically around the
South Pole and largely south of
Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is
surrounded by the Southern Ocean; alternatively, it may be considered
to be surrounded by the southern Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans,
or by the southern waters of the
World Ocean. There are a number of
rivers and lakes in Antarctica, the longest river being the Onyx. The
largest lake, Vostok, is one of the largest sub-glacial lakes in the
Antarctica covers more than 14 million km2
(5,400,000 sq mi), making it the fifth-largest continent,
about 1.3 times as large as Europe. The coastline measures
17,968 km (11,165 mi) and is mostly characterised by ice
formations, as the following table shows:
Coastal types around Antarctica
Ice shelf (floating ice front)
Ice walls (resting on ground)
Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall)
Antarctica is divided in two by the
Transantarctic Mountains close to
the neck between the
Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea. The portion west of
Weddell Sea and east of the
Ross Sea is called
West Antarctica and
the remainder East Antarctica, because they roughly correspond to the
Western and Eastern Hemispheres relative to the Greenwich meridian.
Elevation coloured by relief height
About 98% of
Antarctica is covered by the
Antarctic ice sheet, a sheet
of ice averaging at least 1.6 km (1.0 mi) thick. The
continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thereby about 70% of
the world's fresh water). If all of this ice were melted, sea levels
would rise about 60 m (200 ft). In most of the interior
of the continent, precipitation is very low, down to 20 mm
(0.8 in) per year; in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is
lower than mass loss by sublimation and so the local mass balance is
negative. In the dry valleys, the same effect occurs over a rock base,
leading to a desiccated landscape.
West Antarctica is covered by the West
Ice Sheet. The sheet
has been of recent concern because of the real, if small, possibility
of its collapse. If the sheet were to break down, ocean levels would
rise by several metres in a relatively geologically short period of
time, perhaps a matter of centuries. Several
Antarctic ice streams,
which account for about 10% of the ice sheet, flow to one of the many
Antarctic ice shelves: see ice-sheet dynamics.
East Antarctica lies on the
Indian Ocean side of the Transantarctic
Mountains and comprises Coats Land, Queen Maud Land, Enderby Land,
Mac. Robertson Land, Wilkes Land, and Victoria Land. All but a small
portion of this region lies within the Eastern Hemisphere. East
Antarctica is largely covered by the East
Mount Erebus, an active volcano on Ross Island
Vinson Massif, the highest peak in
Antarctica at 4,892 m
(16,050 ft), is located in the Ellsworth Mountains. Antarctica
contains many other mountains, on both the main continent and the
Mount Erebus on
Ross Island is the world's
southernmost active volcano. Another well-known volcano is found on
Deception Island, which is famous for a giant eruption in 1970. Minor
eruptions are frequent and lava flow has been observed in recent
years. Other dormant volcanoes may potentially be active. In 2004,
a potentially active underwater volcano was found in the Antarctic
Peninsula by American and Canadian researchers.
Antarctica is home to more than 70 lakes that lie at the base of the
continental ice sheet. Lake Vostok, discovered beneath Russia's Vostok
Station in 1996, is the largest of these subglacial lakes. It was once
believed that the lake had been sealed off for 500,000 to one million
years but a recent survey suggests that, every so often, there are
large flows of water from one lake to another.
There is some evidence, in the form of ice cores drilled to about
400 m (1,300 ft) above the water line, that Lake Vostok's
waters may contain microbial life. The frozen surface of the lake
shares similarities with Jupiter's moon, Europa. If life is discovered
in Lake Vostok, it would strengthen the argument for the possibility
of life on Europa. On 7 February 2008, a
NASA team embarked on
a mission to Lake Untersee, searching for extremophiles in its highly
alkaline waters. If found, these resilient creatures could further
bolster the argument for extraterrestrial life in extremely cold,
The bedrock topography of Antarctica, critical to understand dynamic
motion of the continental ice sheets
Geology of Antarctica
Subglacial topography and bathymetry of bedrock underlying Antarctica
The above map shows the subglacial topography of Antarctica. As
indicated by the scale on left-hand side, blue represents portion of
Antarctica lying below sea level. The other colours indicate Antarctic
bedrock lying above sea level. Each colour represents an interval of
760 m (2,500 ft) in elevation. Map is not corrected for sea
level rise or isostatic rebound, which would occur if the Antarctic
ice sheet completely melted to expose the bedrock surface.
Topographic map of
Antarctica after removing the ice sheet and
accounting for both isostatic rebound and sea level rise. Hence, this
map suggests what
Antarctica may have looked like 35 million years
ago, when the
Earth was warm enough to prevent the formation of
large-scale ice sheets in Antarctica.
Geological history and palaeontology
More than 170 million years ago,
Antarctica was part of the
supercontinent Gondwana. Over time,
Gondwana gradually broke apart and
Antarctica as we know it today was formed around 25 million years
Antarctica was not always cold, dry, and covered in ice sheets.
At a number of points in its long history, it was farther north,
experienced a tropical or temperate climate, was covered in forests,
and inhabited by various ancient life forms.
Palaeozoic era (540–250 Ma)
Gondwana had a mild climate. West
Antarctica was partially in the Northern Hemisphere, and during this
period large amounts of sandstones, limestones and shales were
East Antarctica was at the equator, where sea floor
invertebrates and trilobites flourished in the tropical seas. By the
start of the
Devonian period (416 Ma),
Gondwana was in more
southern latitudes and the climate was cooler, though fossils of land
plants are known from this time.
Sand and silts were laid down in what
is now the Ellsworth, Horlick and Pensacola Mountains. Glaciation
began at the end of the
Devonian period (360 Ma), as Gondwana
became centred on the
South Pole and the climate cooled, though flora
remained. During the
Permian period, the land became dominated by seed
plants such as Glossopteris, a pteridosperm which grew in swamps. Over
time these swamps became deposits of coal in the Transantarctic
Mountains. Towards the end of the
Permian period, continued warming
led to a dry, hot climate over much of Gondwana.
Mesozoic era (250–66 Ma)
As a result of continued warming, the polar ice caps melted and much
Gondwana became a desert. In Eastern Antarctica, seed ferns or
pteridosperms became abundant and large amounts of sandstone and shale
were laid down at this time. Synapsids, commonly known as "mammal-like
reptiles", were common in
Antarctica during the
Early Triassic and
included forms such as Lystrosaurus. The
Antarctic Peninsula began to
form during the
Jurassic period (206–146 Ma), and islands
gradually rose out of the ocean.
Ginkgo trees, conifers, bennettites,
horsetails, ferns and cycads were plentiful during this period. In
West Antarctica, coniferous forests dominated through the entire
Cretaceous period (146–66 Ma), though southern beech became
more prominent towards the end of this period. Ammonites were common
in the seas around Antarctica, and dinosaurs were also present, though
Antarctic dinosaur genera (
Glacialisaurus, from the Hanson Formation, and Antarctopelta) have
been described to date. It was during this era that
to break up.
However, there is some evidence of antarctic marine glaciation during
Gondwana breakup (160–23 Ma)
The cooling of
Antarctica occurred stepwise, as the continental spread
changed the oceanic currents from longitudinal equator-to-pole
temperature-equalising currents to latitudinal currents that preserved
and accentuated latitude temperature differences.
Africa separated from
Antarctica in the Jurassic, around 160 Ma,
followed by the
Indian subcontinent in the early
125 Ma). By the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma,
Antarctica (then connected to Australia) still had a subtropical
climate and flora, complete with a marsupial fauna. In the Eocene
epoch, about 40 Ma Australia-
New Guinea separated from
Antarctica, so that latitudinal currents could isolate
Australia, and the first ice began to appear. During the
Eocene–Oligocene extinction event
Eocene–Oligocene extinction event about 34 million years ago,
CO2 levels have been found to be about 760 ppm and had been
decreasing from earlier levels in the thousands of ppm.
Around 23 Ma, the
Drake Passage opened between
Antarctica and South
America, resulting in the
Antarctic Circumpolar Current that
completely isolated the continent. Models of the changes suggest that
declining CO2 levels became more important. The ice began to
spread, replacing the forests that then covered the continent.
Neogene Period (23–0.05 Ma)
Since about 15 Ma, the continent has been mostly covered with ice.
Desert Formation biota
Main article: Meyer
Desert Formation biota
Nothofagus leaves in the Meyer
Desert Formation of the Sirius
Group show that intermittent warm periods allowed
Nothofagus shrubs to
cling to the
Dominion Range as late as 3–4 Ma (mid-late
Pliocene). After that, the
Pleistocene ice age covered the whole
continent and destroyed all major plant life on it.
Glaciers and rock outcrops in
Marie Byrd Land
Marie Byrd Land seen from NASA's DC-8
The geological study of
Antarctica has been greatly hindered by nearly
all of the continent being permanently covered with a thick layer of
ice. However, new techniques such as remote sensing,
ground-penetrating radar and satellite imagery have begun to reveal
the structures beneath the ice.
West Antarctica closely resembles the
range of South America. The
Antarctic Peninsula was formed by
uplift and metamorphism of sea bed sediments during the late Paleozoic
and the early
Mesozoic eras. This sediment uplift was accompanied by
igneous intrusions and volcanism. The most common rocks in West
Antarctica are andesite and rhyolite volcanics formed during the
Jurassic period. There is also evidence of volcanic activity, even
after the ice sheet had formed, in
Marie Byrd Land
Marie Byrd Land and Alexander
Island. The only anomalous area of
West Antarctica is the Ellsworth
Mountains region, where the stratigraphy is more similar to East
East Antarctica is geologically varied, dating from the Precambrian
era, with some rocks formed more than 3 billion years ago. It is
composed of a metamorphic and igneous platform which is the basis of
the continental shield. On top of this base are coal and various
modern rocks, such as sandstones, limestones and shales laid down
Jurassic periods to form the Transantarctic
Mountains. In coastal areas such as
Shackleton Range and Victoria Land
some faulting has occurred.
The main mineral resource known on the continent is coal. It was
first recorded near the
Beardmore Glacier by
Frank Wild on the Nimrod
Expedition, and now low-grade coal is known across many parts of the
Transantarctic Mountains. The
Prince Charles Mountains
Prince Charles Mountains contain
significant deposits of iron ore. The most valuable resources of
Antarctica lie offshore, namely the oil and natural gas fields found
Ross Sea in 1973. Exploitation of all mineral resources is
banned until 2048 by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the
Main article: Climate of Antarctica
The blue ice covering Lake Fryxell, in the Transantarctic Mountains,
comes from glacial meltwater from the Canada
Glacier and other smaller
Near the coast, December looks fairly temperate.
Antarctica is the coldest of Earth's continents. It used to be
ice-free until about 34 million years ago, when it became covered with
ice. The coldest natural air temperature ever recorded on Earth
was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Soviet (now Russian)
Vostok Station in
Antarctica on 21 July 1983. For comparison, this
is 10.7 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice at one
atmosphere of partial pressure, but since CO2 only makes up 0.039% of
air, temperatures of less than −140 °C (−220 °F)
would be needed to produce dry ice snow in Antarctica. A lower air
temperature of −94.7 °C (−138.5 °F) was recorded in
2010 by satellite—however, it may be influenced by ground
temperatures and was not recorded at a height of 7 feet above the
surface as required for the official air temperature records.
Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation; the South
Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year, on
average. Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C
(−112 °F) and −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) in the
interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C
(41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast in summer.
Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost
all of the ultraviolet light falling on it. Given the latitude, long
periods of constant darkness or constant sunlight create climates
unfamiliar to human beings in much of the rest of the world.
The snow surface at
Dome C Station is typical of most of the
East Antarctica is colder than its western counterpart because of its
higher elevation. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the
continent, leaving the centre cold and dry. Despite the lack of
precipitation over the central portion of the continent, ice there
lasts for extended periods. Heavy snowfalls are common on the coastal
portion of the continent, where snowfalls of up to 1.22 metres
(48 in) in 48 hours have been recorded.
At the edge of the continent, strong katabatic winds off the polar
plateau often blow at storm force. In the interior, wind speeds are
typically moderate. During clear days in summer, more solar radiation
reaches the surface at the
South Pole than at the equator because of
the 24 hours of sunlight each day at the Pole.
Antarctica is colder than the
Arctic for three reasons. First, much of
the continent is more than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above sea
level, and temperature decreases with elevation in the troposphere.
Arctic Ocean covers the north polar zone: the ocean's
relative warmth is transferred through the icepack and prevents
temperatures in the
Arctic regions from reaching the extremes typical
of the land surface of Antarctica. Third, the
Earth is at aphelion in
July (i.e., the
Earth is farthest from the
Sun in the Antarctic
winter), and the
Earth is at perihelion in January (i.e., the
closest to the
Sun in the
Antarctic summer). The orbital distance
contributes to a colder
Antarctic winter (and a warmer Antarctic
summer) but the first two effects have more impact.
The aurora australis, commonly known as the southern lights, is a glow
observed in the night sky near the
South Pole created by the
plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. Another unique
spectacle is diamond dust, a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice
crystals. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear
skies, so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky
precipitation. A sun dog, a frequent atmospheric optical phenomenon,
is a bright "spot" beside the true sun.
Demographics of Antarctica
Demographics of Antarctica and
Research stations in
The "ceremonial" South Pole, at Amundsen–Scott Station
Several governments maintain permanent manned research stations on the
continent. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific
research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies
from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer, giving it a
population density between 70 and 350 inhabitants per million square
kilometres (180 and 900 per million square miles) at these times. Many
of the stations are staffed year-round, the winter-over personnel
typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year
assignment. An Orthodox church—Trinity Church, opened in 2004 at the
Russian Bellingshausen Station—is manned year-round by one or two
priests, who are similarly rotated every year.
Port Lockroy Museum
The first semi-permanent inhabitants of regions near
situated south of the
Antarctic Convergence) were British and American
sealers who used to spend a year or more on South Georgia, from 1786
onward. During the whaling era, which lasted until 1966, the
population of that island varied from over 1,000 in the summer (over
2,000 in some years) to some 200 in the winter. Most of the whalers
were Norwegian, with an increasing proportion of Britons. The
settlements included Grytviken, Leith Harbour, King Edward Point,
Stromness, Husvik, Prince Olav Harbour,
Ocean Harbour and Godthul.
Managers and other senior officers of the whaling stations often lived
together with their families. Among them was the founder of Grytviken,
Captain Carl Anton Larsen, a prominent Norwegian whaler and explorer
who, along with his family, adopted British citizenship in 1910.
The first child born in the southern polar region was Norwegian girl
Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, born in
Grytviken on 8 October 1913, and
her birth was registered by the resident British Magistrate of South
Georgia. She was a daughter of Fridthjof Jacobsen, the assistant
manager of the whaling station, and Klara Olette Jacobsen. Jacobsen
arrived on the island in 1904 and became the manager of Grytviken,
serving from 1914 to 1921; two of his children were born on the
Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person born south of the 60th
parallel south (the continental limit according to the Antarctic
Treaty), as well as the first one born on the
in 1978 at Base Esperanza, on the tip of the Antarctic
Peninsula; his parents were sent there along with seven other
families by the Argentine government to determine if the continent was
suitable for family life. In 1984, Juan Pablo Camacho was born at the
Frei Montalva Station, becoming the first Chilean born in Antarctica.
Several bases are now home to families with children attending schools
at the station. As of 2009, eleven children were born in
Antarctica (south of the 60th parallel south): eight at the Argentine
Esperanza Base and three at the Chilean Frei Montalva Station.
and Wildlife of Antarctica
Emperor penguins in Ross Sea, Antarctica
Few terrestrial vertebrates live in Antarctica, and those that do are
limited to the sub-
Invertebrate life includes
microscopic mites like the Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes,
tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails. The flightless midge
Belgica antarctica, up to 6 mm (1⁄4 in) in size, is the
largest purely terrestrial animal in Antarctica. The snow petrel
is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica.
Some species of marine animals exist and rely, directly or indirectly,
on the phytoplankton.
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
Adélie penguin breeds farther south than any other penguin. The
southern rockhopper penguin has distinctive feathers around the eyes,
giving the appearance of elaborate eyelashes. King penguins, chinstrap
penguins, and gentoo penguins also breed in the Antarctic.
Antarctic fur seal was very heavily hunted in the 18th and 19th
centuries for its pelt by sealers from the
United States and the
United Kingdom. The Weddell seal, a "true seal", is named after Sir
James Weddell, commander of British sealing expeditions in the Weddell
Antarctic krill, which congregate in large schools, is the
keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an
important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals,
squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds.
A census of sea life carried out during the International Polar Year
and which involved some 500 researchers was released in 2010. The
research is part of the global
Census of Marine Life
Census of Marine Life (CoML) and has
disclosed some remarkable findings. More than 235 marine organisms
live in both polar regions, having bridged the gap of 12,000 km
(7,456 mi). Large animals such as some cetaceans and birds make
the round trip annually. More surprising are small forms of life such
as sea cucumbers, and free-swimming snails found in both polar oceans.
Various factors may aid in their distribution – fairly uniform
temperatures of the deep ocean at the poles and the equator which
differ by no more than 5 °C, and the major current systems or
marine conveyor belt which transport eggs and larval stages.
About 400 species of lichen-forming fungi are known to exist in
About 1,150 species of fungi have been recorded from Antarctica, of
which about 750 are non-lichen-forming and 400 are
lichen-forming. Some of these species are cryptoendoliths as a
result of evolution under extreme conditions, and have significantly
contributed to shaping the impressive rock formations of the McMurdo
Dry Valleys and surrounding mountain ridges. The apparently simple
morphology, scarcely differentiated structures, metabolic systems and
enzymes still active at very low temperatures, and reduced life cycles
shown by such fungi make them particularly suited to harsh
environments such as the McMurdo Dry Valleys. In particular, their
thick-walled and strongly melanised cells make them resistant to UV
light. Those features can also be observed in algae and cyanobacteria,
suggesting that these are adaptations to the conditions prevailing in
Antarctica. This has led to speculation that, if life ever occurred on
Mars, it might have looked similar to
Antarctic fungi such as
Cryomyces antarcticus, and Cryomyces minteri. Some of these fungi
are also apparently endemic to Antarctica. Endemic
also include certain dung-inhabiting species which have had to evolve
in response to the double challenge of extreme cold while growing on
dung, and the need to survive passage through the gut of warm-blooded
About 298 million years ago
Permian forests started to cover the
continent, and tundra vegetation survived as late as 15 million years
ago, but the climate of present-day
Antarctica does not allow
extensive vegetation to form. A combination of freezing temperatures,
poor soil quality, lack of moisture, and lack of sunlight inhibit
plant growth. As a result, the diversity of plant life is very low and
limited in distribution. The flora of the continent largely consists
of bryophytes. There are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of
liverworts, but only three species of flowering plants, all of which
are found in the
Antarctic Peninsula: Deschampsia antarctica
Antarctic hair grass),
Colobanthus quitensis (
and the non-native
Poa annua (annual bluegrass). Growth is
restricted to a few weeks in the summer.
Red fluid pours out of
Blood Falls at Taylor Glacier. The colour
derives from iron oxides.
Seven hundred species of algae exist, most of which are phytoplankton.
Multicoloured snow algae and diatoms are especially abundant in the
coastal regions during the summer.
Bacteria have been found living
in the cold and dark as deep as 800 m (0.50 mi;
2,600 ft) under the ice.
Dumping of waste, including old vehicles, such as here at the Russian
Bellingshausen Station in 1992, is prohibited since the entry into
force of the Protocol on Environmental Protection in 1998.
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the
Antarctic Treaty (also
known as the Environmental Protocol or Madrid Protocol) came into
force in 1998, and is the main instrument concerned with conservation
and management of biodiversity in Antarctica. The
Consultative Meeting is advised on environmental and conservation
Antarctica by the Committee for Environmental Protection. A
major concern within this committee is the risk to
unintentional introduction of non-native species from outside the
The passing of the
Antarctic Conservation Act (1978) in the U.S.
brought several restrictions to U.S. activity on Antarctica. The
introduction of alien plants or animals can bring a criminal penalty,
as can the extraction of any indigenous species. The overfishing of
krill, which plays a large role in the
Antarctic ecosystem, led
officials to enact regulations on fishing. The Convention for the
Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a treaty
that came into force in 1980, requires that regulations managing all
Southern Ocean fisheries consider potential effects on the entire
Antarctic ecosystem. Despite these new acts, unregulated and
illegal fishing, particularly of
Patagonian toothfish (marketed as
Chilean Sea Bass in the U.S.), remains a serious problem. The illegal
fishing of toothfish has been increasing, with estimates of
32,000 tonnes (35,300 short tons) in 2000.
Emblem of the
Antarctic Treaty since 2002.
Antarctic programmes together supporting science in
Several countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. While a few of
these countries have mutually recognised each other's claims, the
validity of these claims is not recognised universally.
New claims on
Antarctica have been suspended since 1959, although in
Norway formally defined
Queen Maud Land
Queen Maud Land as including the
unclaimed area between it and the South Pole. Antarctica's status
is regulated by the 1959
Antarctic Treaty and other related
agreements, collectively called the
Antarctic Treaty System.
Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S for
the purposes of the Treaty System. The treaty was signed by twelve
countries including the
Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United
Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and the United States. It
Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of
scientific investigation and environmental protection, and banned
military activity on Antarctica. This was the first arms control
agreement established during the Cold War.
In 1983 the
Antarctic Treaty Parties began negotiations on a
convention to regulate mining in Antarctica. A coalition of
international organisations launched a public pressure campaign to
prevent any minerals development in the region, led largely by
Greenpeace International, which operated its own scientific
World Park Base—in the
Ross Sea region from 1987 until
1991 and conducted annual expeditions to document environmental
effects of humans on Antarctica. In 1988, the Convention on the
Antarctic Mineral Resources (CRAMRA) was adopted.
The following year, however,
France announced that they
would not ratify the convention, rendering it dead for all intents and
purposes. They proposed instead that a comprehensive regime to protect
Antarctic environment be negotiated in its place. The
Protocol on Environmental Protection to the
Antarctic Treaty (the
"Madrid Protocol") was negotiated as other countries followed suit and
on 14 January 1998 it entered into force. The Madrid
Protocol bans all mining in Antarctica, designating
"natural reserve devoted to peace and science".
HMS Endurance: the Royal Navy's former
Antarctic patrol ship.
Antarctic Treaty prohibits any military activity in Antarctica,
including the establishment of military bases and fortifications,
military manoeuvres, and weapons testing. Military personnel or
equipment are permitted only for scientific research or other peaceful
purposes. The only documented military land manoeuvre has been
the small Operation NINETY by the Argentine military in 1965.
Main article: Territorial claims in Antarctica
20°W to 80°W
150°W to 160°E
142°2′E to 136°11′E
Peter I Island
68°50′S 90°35′W / 68.833°S 90.583°W / -68.833;
-90.583 (Peter I Island)
160°E to 142°2′E and
136°11′E to 44°38′E
Queen Maud Land
44°38′E to 20°W
53°W to 90°W
25°W to 74°W
(Marie Byrd Land)
90°W to 150°W
(except Peter I Island)
The Argentine, British and Chilean claims all overlap, and have caused
friction. On 18 December 2012, the British Foreign and Commonwealth
Office named a previously unnamed area
Queen Elizabeth Land
Queen Elizabeth Land in tribute
to Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. On 22 December 2012, the
UK ambassador to Argentina, John Freeman, was summoned to the
Argentine government as protest against the claim. Argentine–UK
relations had previously been damaged throughout 2012 due to disputes
over the sovereignty of the nearby Falkland Islands, and the 30th
anniversary of the Falklands War.
The areas shown as Australia's and New Zealand's claims were British
territory until they were handed over following the countries'
Australia currently claims the largest area. The claims
of Britain, Australia, New Zealand,
Norway are all
recognised by each other.
Other countries participating as members of the
Antarctic Treaty have
a territorial interest in Antarctica, but the provisions of the Treaty
do not allow them to make their claims while it is in force.
Brazil has a designated "zone of interest" that is not an actual
Peru has formally reserved its right to make a claim.
Russia has inherited the Soviet Union's right to claim territory
under the original
South Africa has formally reserved its right to make a
United States reserved its right to make a claim in the original
There is no economic activity in
Antarctica at present, except for
fishing off the coast and small-scale tourism, both based outside
Although coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium,
nickel, gold and other minerals have been found, they have not been in
large enough quantities to exploit. The 1991 Protocol on
Environmental Protection to the
Antarctic Treaty also restricts a
struggle for resources. In 1998, a compromise agreement was reached to
place an indefinite ban on mining, to be reviewed in 2048, further
limiting economic development and exploitation. The primary economic
activity is the capture and offshore trading of fish. Antarctic
fisheries in 2000–01 reported landing 112,934 tonnes.
Post office Tangra 1091
Antarctic postal services of the Bulgarian
Small-scale "expedition tourism" has existed since 1957 and is
currently subject to
Antarctic Treaty and Environmental Protocol
provisions, but in effect self-regulated by the International
Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Not all vessels
Antarctic tourism are members of IAATO, but IAATO
members account for 95% of the tourist activity. Travel is largely by
small or medium ship, focusing on specific scenic locations with
accessible concentrations of iconic wildlife. A total of 37,506
tourists visited during the 2006–07 Austral summer with nearly all
of them coming from commercial ships; 38,478 were recorded in
There has been some concern over the potential adverse environmental
and ecosystem effects caused by the influx of visitors. Some
environmentalists and scientists have made a call for stricter
regulations for ships and a tourism quota. The primary response
Antarctic Treaty Parties has been to develop, through their
Committee for Environmental Protection and in partnership with IAATO,
"site use guidelines" setting landing limits and closed or restricted
zones on the more frequently visited sites.
flights (which did not land) operated out of
Australia and New Zealand
until the fatal crash of Air
New Zealand Flight 901 in 1979 on Mount
Erebus, which killed all 257 aboard.
Qantas resumed commercial
Australia in the mid-1990s.
Antarctic fisheries in 1998–99 (1 July – 30 June) reported
landing 119,898 tonnes legally.
About thirty countries maintain about seventy research stations (40
year-round or permanent, and 30 summer-only) in Antarctica, with an
approximate population of 4000 in summer and 1000 in winter.
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 "AQ" is assigned to the entire continent
regardless of jurisdiction. Different country calling codes and
currencies are used for different settlements, depending on the
administrating country. The Antarctican dollar, a souvenir item sold
United States and Canada, is not legal tender.
Research stations in Antarctica
A full moon and 25-second exposure allowed sufficient light for this
photo to be taken at Amundsen–Scott
South Pole Station during the
Antarctic night. The station can be seen at far left, the power
plant in the centre and the mechanic's garage in the lower right. The
green light in the background is the aurora.
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.
Researchers include biologists, geologists, oceanographers,
physicists, astronomers, glaciologists, and meteorologists. Geologists
tend to study plate tectonics, meteorites from outer space, and
resources from the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana.
Antarctica are concerned with the study of the
history and dynamics of floating ice, seasonal snow, glaciers, and ice
sheets. Biologists, in addition to examining the wildlife, are
interested in how harsh temperatures and the presence of people affect
adaptation and survival strategies in a wide variety of organisms.
Medical physicians have made discoveries concerning the spreading of
viruses and the body's response to extreme seasonal temperatures.
Astrophysicists at Amundsen–Scott
South Pole Station study the
celestial dome and cosmic microwave background radiation. Many
astronomical observations are better made from the interior of
Antarctica than from most surface locations because of the high
elevation, which results in a thin atmosphere; low temperature, which
minimises the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere; and absence of
light pollution, thus allowing for a view of space clearer than
anywhere else on Earth.
Antarctic ice serves as both the shield and
the detection medium for the largest neutrino telescope in the world,
built 2 km (1.2 mi) below Amundsen–Scott station.
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 on the Brunt Ice
Shelf discovered the existence of a hole in this layer. It was
eventually determined that the destruction of the ozone was caused by
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) emitted by human products. With the ban of
CFCs in the
Montreal Protocol of 1989, climate projections indicate
that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and
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.
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
50 cm 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, the prefabricated station, which
is part of the International Polar Year, was shipped to the South Pole
Belgium by the end of 2008 to monitor the health of the polar
Belgian polar explorer
Alain Hubert stated: "This base will
be the first of its kind to produce zero emissions, making it a unique
model of how energy should be used in the Antarctic." Johan Berte is
the leader of the station design team and manager of the project which
conducts research in climatology, glaciology and microbiology.
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
(based on airborne survey with radar images). 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
A study from 2014 estimated that during the Pleistocene, the East
Ice Sheet (EAIS) thinned by at least 500 m
(1,600 ft), and that thinning since the
Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum for
the EAIS area is less than 50 m (160 ft) and probably
started after c. 14 ka.
Antarctic meteorite, named ALH84001, from Mars
Antarctica are an important area of study of material
formed early in the solar system; most are thought to come from
asteroids, but some may have originated on larger planets. 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.
Motion of the ice sheet tends to concentrate the meteorites at
blocking locations such as mountain ranges, with wind erosion bringing
them to the surface after centuries beneath accumulated snowfall.
Compared with meteorites collected in more temperate regions on Earth,
Antarctic meteorites are well-preserved.
This large collection of meteorites allows a better understanding of
the abundance of meteorite types in the solar system and how
meteorites relate to asteroids and comets. New types of meteorites and
rare meteorites have been found. Among these are pieces blasted off
the Moon, and probably Mars, by impacts. These specimens, particularly
ALH84001 discovered by ANSMET, are at the centre of the controversy
about possible evidence of microbial life on Mars. Because meteorites
in space absorb and record cosmic radiation, the time elapsed since
the meteorite hit the
Earth can be determined from laboratory studies.
The elapsed time since fall, or terrestrial residence age, of a
meteorite represents more information that might be useful in
environmental studies of
Antarctic ice sheets.
In 2006 a team of researchers from
Ohio State University
Ohio State University used gravity
measurements by NASA's GRACE satellites to discover the
500-kilometre-wide (300 mi)
Wilkes Land crater, which probably
formed about 250 million years ago.
In January 2013 an 18 kg (40 lb) meteorite was discovered
frozen in ice on the Nansen ice field by a Search for Antarctic
Belgian Approach (SAMBA) mission.
In January 2015 reports emerged of a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi)
circular structure, supposedly a meteorite crater, on the surface snow
of King Baudouin
Ice Shelf. Satellite images from 25 years ago
seemingly show it.
Ice mass and global sea level
See also: Current sea level rise
The motion of ice in Antarctica
Due to its location at the South Pole,
Antarctica receives relatively
little solar radiation. This means that it is a very cold continent
where water is mostly in the form of ice.
Precipitation is low (most
Antarctica is a desert) and almost always in the form of snow,
which accumulates and forms a giant ice sheet which covers the land.
Parts of this ice sheet form moving glaciers known as ice streams,
which flow towards the edges of the continent. Next to the continental
shore are many ice shelves. These are floating extensions of
outflowing glaciers from the continental ice mass. Offshore,
temperatures are also low enough that ice is formed from seawater
through most of the year. It is important to understand the various
Antarctic ice to understand possible effects on sea levels
and the implications of global cooling.
Sea ice extent expands annually in the
Antarctic winter and most of
this ice melts in the summer. This ice is formed from the ocean water
and floats in the same water and thus does not contribute to rise in
sea level. The extent of sea ice around
Antarctica has remained
roughly constant in recent decades, although the thickness changes are
Melting of floating ice shelves (ice that originated on the land) does
not in itself contribute much to sea-level rise (since the ice
displaces only its own mass of water). However it is the outflow of
the ice from the land to form the ice shelf which causes a rise in
global sea level. This effect is offset by snow falling back onto the
continent. Recent decades have witnessed several dramatic collapses of
large ice shelves around the coast of Antarctica, especially along the
Antarctic Peninsula. Concerns have been raised that disruption of ice
shelves may result in increased glacial outflow from the continental
On the continent itself, the large volume of ice present stores around
70% of the world's fresh water. This ice sheet is constantly
gaining ice from snowfall and losing ice through outflow to the sea.
Overall, the net change is slightly positive at approximately 82
gigatonnes (Gt) per year (with significant regional variation),
reducing global sea-level rise by 0.23 mm per year. However,
NASA's Climate Change website indicates an overall trend of greater
than 100 gigatonnes of ice loss per year since 2002.
East Antarctica is a cold region with a ground base above sea level
and occupies most of the continent. This area is dominated by small
accumulations of snowfall which becomes ice and thus eventually
seaward glacial flows. The mass balance of the East
Sheet as a whole is thought to be slightly positive (lowering sea
level) or near to balance. However, increased ice
outflow has been suggested in some regions.
Effects of global warming
Warming trend from 1957 to 2006
Global warming in Antarctica
Global warming in Antarctica and
Antarctic sea ice
Antarctica has been warming up; particularly strong warming
has been noted on the
Antarctic Peninsula. A study by Eric Steig
published in 2009 noted for the first time that the continent-wide
average surface temperature trend of
Antarctica is slightly positive
at >0.05 °C (0.09 °F) per decade from 1957 to 2006.
This study also noted that
West Antarctica has warmed by more than
0.1 °C (0.2 °F) per decade in the last 50 years, and this
warming is strongest in winter and spring. This is partly offset by
autumn cooling in East Antarctica. There is evidence from one
Antarctica is warming as a result of human carbon dioxide
emissions, but this remains ambiguous. The amount of surface
warming in West Antarctica, while large, has not led to appreciable
melting at the surface, and is not directly affecting the West
Ice Sheet's contribution to sea level. Instead the recent
increases in glacier outflow are believed to be due to an inflow of
warm water from the deep ocean, just off the continental
shelf. The net contribution to sea level from the Antarctic
Peninsula is more likely to be a direct result of the much greater
atmospheric warming there.
In 2002 the
Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen-B ice shelf collapsed.
Between 28 February and 8 March 2008, about 570 km2
(220 sq mi) of ice from the Wilkins
Ice Shelf on the
southwest part of the peninsula collapsed, putting the remaining
15,000 km2 (5,800 sq mi) of the ice shelf at risk. The
ice was being held back by a "thread" of ice about 6 km
(4 mi) wide, prior to its collapse on 5 April
2009. According to NASA, the most widespread Antarctic
surface melting of the past 30 years occurred in 2005, when an area of
ice comparable in size to California briefly melted and refroze; this
may have resulted from temperatures rising to as high as 5 °C
A study published in
Nature Geoscience in 2013 (online in December
2012) identified central
West Antarctica as one of the fastest-warming
regions on Earth. The researchers present a complete temperature
record from Antarctica's Byrd Station and assert that it "reveals a
linear increase in annual temperature between 1958 and 2010 by
Image of the largest
Antarctic ozone hole ever recorded due to CFCs
accumulation (September 2006)
There is a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" over
Antarctica. This hole covers almost the whole continent and was at its
largest in September 2008, when the longest lasting hole on record
remained until the end of December. The hole was detected by
scientists in 1985 and has tended to increase over the years of
observation. The ozone hole is attributed to the emission of
chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs into the atmosphere, which decompose the
ozone into other gases.
Some scientific studies suggest that ozone depletion may have a
dominant role in governing climatic change in
Antarctica (and a wider
area of the Southern Hemisphere).
Ozone absorbs large amounts of
ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere.
Ozone depletion over
Antarctica can cause a cooling of around 6 °C in the local
stratosphere. This cooling has the effect of intensifying the westerly
winds which flow around the continent (the polar vortex) and thus
prevents outflow of the cold air near the South Pole. As a result, the
continental mass of the East
Antarctic ice sheet is held at lower
temperatures, and the peripheral areas of Antarctica, especially the
Antarctic Peninsula, are subject to higher temperatures, which promote
accelerated melting. Models also suggest that the ozone
depletion/enhanced polar vortex effect also accounts for the recent
increase in sea ice just offshore of the continent.
List of mountain ranges in Antarctica
List of volcanoes in Antarctica
Lists of places in Antarctica
^ The word was originally pronounced without the first /k/ in English,
but the spelling pronunciation has become common and is often
considered more correct. The pronunciation without the first /k/ and
the first /t/ is however widespread and a typical phenomenon of
English in many other similar words too. The "c" already ceased to
be pronounced in Medieval Latin and was dropped from the spelling in
Old French, but it was added back to the spelling for etymological
reasons in English in the 17th century and then began to be
pronounced, but (as with other spelling pronunciations) at first only
by less educated people.
^ a b c d e f g h i
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World Factbook. Government of the United States.
Retrieved 14 September 2017.
^ Antarctica. American Heritage Dictionary
^ Crystal, David (2006). The Fight for English. Oxford University
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thickness datasets for Antarctica" (PDF). The Cryosphere journal: 390.
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^ "La Antártida" (in Spanish). Dirección Nacional del Antártico.
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^ Joyce, C. Alan (18 January 2007). "The
World at a Glance: Surprising
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^ "Coldest temperature ever recorded on
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^ Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert. "Antarktikos". In Crane,
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^ Hince, Bernadette (2000). The
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^ G. Chaucer. A Treatise on the Astrolabe. Approx. 1391. Ed. W. Skeat.
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^ Flinders, Matthew. A voyage to
Terra Australis (Introduction)
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^ James Cook, The Journals, edited by Philip Edwards.
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^ Guthridge, Guy G. "Nathaniel Brown Palmer, 1799–1877". Government
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^ (in French) Proposition de classement du rocher du débarquement
dans le cadre des sites et monuments historiques,
Consultative meeting 2006, note 4
^ (in French) Voyage au Pôle sud et dans l'Océanie sur les corvettes
"l'Astrolabe" et "la Zélée", exécuté par ordre du Roi pendant les
années 1837-1838-1839-1840 sous le commandement de M. J.
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Map of Antarctican subglacial lakes
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Antarctica and climate change blog
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List of rivers
Richard E. Byrd
James Clark Ross
Robert Falcon Scott
Continents of the world
Possible future supercontinents
Mythical and hypothesised continents
See also Regions of the world
List of deserts
List of deserts by area
Rub' al Khali
Cabo de Gata
Gran Desierto de Altar
Great Salt Lake
Jornada del Muerto
North American Arctic
Los Médanos de Coro
North American Arctic
North Magnetic Pole
J. C. Ross
C. F. Hall
Lady Franklin Bay Expedition
"North Pole" manned drifting ice stations
Norse colonization of the Americas
Erik the Red
Christian IV's expeditions
J. C. Ross
Franklin's lost expedition
2nd Grinnell Expedition
North East Passage
Great Northern Expedition
A. E. Nordenskiöld
Taymyr / Vaygach
United States Exploring Expedition
HMS Erebus (J. C. Ross
HMS Terror (Crozier)
C. A. Larsen
C. A. Larsen
South Pole expedition
E. R. Evans
Far Eastern Party
Ross Sea party
IPY · IGY
Captain Arturo Prat Base
Operation Deep Freeze
Antarctic Treaty System
J. C. Ross
South Magnetic Pole
South Pole expedition
South Pole Station
Pole of Cold
Pole of inaccessibility
Pole of Inaccessibility Station
Countries and territories bordering the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago - United Kingdom
Christmas Island (Australia)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia)
French Southern and
Heard Island and McDonald Islands
Coordinates: 90°S 0°E / 90°S 0°E / -90; 0