Antarctica

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Antarctica : continent around the South Pole; a plateau covered by a great ice cap and mountain peaks area about 5,500,000 square miles (14,300,000 square kilometers) — Webster

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Antarctica 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 Antarctica is 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 the Antarctic Peninsula.

Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. 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), 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 the 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. — Wikipedia

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Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis (“Southern Land”) date back to antiquity, the first confirmed sighting of the continent is commonly accepted to have occurred in 1820 by the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev. The continent, however, remained largely neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of resources, and isolation. — Wikipedia

History of Antarctica (Wikipedia)



Notebook from Scott of the Antarctic’s ill-fated expedition discovered 100 years later frozen in ice (ABC News)
Century-Old Notebook From Antarctic Expedition Found (Megan Gannon, Discovery, Live Science)

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Antarctic Sun - Science News Feed Science news items and articles displayed on the Antarctic Sun web site.

  • Buried Treasure
    on July 26, 2018 at 8:20 am

    A team of researchers has brought home samples of some of the oldest ice ever discovered, more than twice as old as most previous samples. In the remote Ong Valley, the team drilled into a bed of ice - that first fell as snow two million years ago, or more. […]

  • Neutrinos Point The Way To Cosmic Rays
    on July 12, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Using data gathered by the National Science Foundation- (NSF) funded IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole, scientists have for the first time identified a super massive black hole as the source of some of the highest energy cosmic rays. […]

  • IceBridge Flies High
    on June 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

    In late 2017, a specially modified airplane contracted by NASA crisscrossed Antarctica, mapping the ice below and filling in a data gap left by a now-defunct NASA satellite called ICESat, which measured the elevation of the ice surface using a laser. Operation IceBridge flights are bridging the gap […]

  • A Chemical Detective Story: Why is Don Juan Pond...
    on June 13, 2018 at 9:28 am

    During winter, nearly everything in Antarctica freezes solid. Except Don Juan Pond. Though only about twice the area of an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and barely a foot deep, Don Juan Pond is famous for being the saltiest body of water on the entire planet. It is saltier even than the Dead Sea. […]

  • A World-Class Classroom At The Bottom Of The World
    on May 31, 2018 at 10:23 am

    For early-career scientists, learning the ropes in Antarctica can mean donning actual safety lines and harnesses. This past austral summer, 20 students traveled to the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station to conduct a range of experiments and learn first-hand what it's like to do research […]