Antarctica

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Exploring the 7th Continent (360° VR Channel)

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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

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

  • The Prehistoric Forests of the Frozen Continent
    on June 30, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Paleontologists uncovered the fossil remnants of the oldest forest yet discovered in Antarctica. At about 270 million years old, the fossils come from an extinct species of tree known as Glossopteris. The fossils promise to offer paleontologists insights into the prehistoric climate and ecology of […]

  • Dating The East Antarctic Ice Sheet
    on June 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    The history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is written in stones along the Transantarctic Mountains. Over the past two years, researchers ventured to remote areas along the mountain range to decipher how high ancient glaciers reached, by studying the rocks they left behind. By measuring the amount […]

  • Methane Munching Microbes
    on May 24, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    VIDEO: Five years ago, a plume of natural methane started seeping out of the seafloor near McMurdo Station, providing researchers an unprecedented chance to study the formation and development of colonies of microorganisms that rely on methane for nourishment. […]

  • Tag! You're it!
    on May 17, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    A number of Adelie penguins around the Ross Sea are sporting sophisticated new leg bands this year. Ornithologist David Ainley and his team attached new electronic tags to about 150 penguins to record where each penguin goes and how deeply it dives under water. The tagging project ties in with a […]

  • Caves Of Gas
    on April 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Planet Earth is gassy. All over the world, plumes of gasses that formed deep under the planet's surface, pour out of active volcanoes and mix with the atmosphere. Tobias Fischer, a volcanologist at the University of New Mexico, spent two seasons exploring the frozen face of Antarctica's Mount […]