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.

  • Ultraviolet Radiation Gives Microbes Mixed...
    on May 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Ultraviolet rays from the sun may be disrupting the natural ecology of the waters of Antarctica's Southern Ocean. A research team, led by a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, is taking a close look at the effects that excess UV radiation at the cellular level to see what it […]

  • Paleo Gondwanaland Was Full Of Lystrosaurs
    on May 3, 2018 at 11:12 am

    An expedition studying the aftermath of one of Earth's greatest global extinctions collected hundreds of prehistoric animal fossils from the mountains of Antarctica this past season. Ten researchers spent nearly six weeks camped in the Transantarctic Mountains, collecting fossils that formed […]

  • Climate Change In The McMurdo Dry Valleys
    on April 24, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    The McMurdo Dry Valleys ecosystems are changing because of climate change. In a paper published in the journal Ecology in January researchers said they've tracked the decline of the microorganism living in the Dry Valleys' barren soils. More frequent extreme weather events are driving down the […]

  • Why Antarctic Fish Don't Freeze Their Tails Off
    on April 10, 2018 at 9:38 am

    An innovative project to understand how fish survive in the frigid Antarctic waters is opening up new avenues for researchers monitoring what goes on under the sea ice in McMurdo Sound. Evolutionary biologist Paul Cziko from the University of Oregon is studying how Antarctic fish […]

  • Sea Drifters
    on March 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    The menagerie of drifting ocean creatures that lives off the coast of Palmer Station was under the microscope more than ever this past austral summer. A team of scientists spent five months at the station studying the tiny creatures that drift along the ocean currents. It's the first time the […]