25 Facts About Antarctica That Are So Cool They’re Freezing

Posted by , Updated on April 4, 2014

You probably never realized how awesome that big block of ice at the bottom of the world is. These are 25 fact about Antarctica that are so cool they’re freezing!

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25

Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on the planet.

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24

Antarctica is a desert, even though it holds 70 percent of the world’s freshwater.

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23

The annual snow accumulation across much of East Antarctica adds up to less than two inches of rain.

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22

This is actually very comparable to the Sahara Desert

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21

In wintertime, the sea ice around Antarctica grows at the rate of 40,000 square miles a day.

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20

Only 2 percent of the continent is actually exposed

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19

Antarctica’s ice is so heavy that it deforms the South Pole

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18

In fact, its weight makes the Earth look slightly pear shaped

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17

Antarctica holds the top spot for the lowest recorded temperature on Earth, which was -129°F (-84.5°C) at the Russian Vostok station in 1983.

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16

At this temperature steel will shatter and water will explode into ice crystals.

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15

Nature's power is seldom seen as ferocious as it is in Antarctica, making this one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

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14

The continent experiences regular Katabatic (downhill) winds, reaching 300 km per hour (185 miles/hour), that blow out of the continental interior

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13

The first people to reach the South Pole were from the Norwegian-led expedition of Roald Amundsen on December 14, 1911

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12

One month later, Robert Scott’s British expedition also reached 90 South but all members tragically died on their attempted return journey

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11

Prior to this, speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s

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10

Following World War II, there was an upsurge in scientific research on the continent

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9

Today seven countries have made territorial claims (Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and UK), but not all countries, including the USA and Russia, recognise these claims.

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8

In order to form a legal framework for the activities of nations on the continent, an Antarctic Treaty was negotiated that neither denies nor gives recognition to existing territorial claims

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7

It prohibits any measures of a military nature

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6

One of the biggest dangers to researchers and others living on the continent is actually fire. The dry environment makes it very possible and hard to stop.

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5

Antarctica is the largest wilderness area on Earth

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4

Antarctica contains 90% of the world's ice

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3

During summer more radiation reaches the South Pole than the equator.

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2

This is because the hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic is the largest on record at 27 million square km

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1

The Antarctic Ice Marathon is an annual marathon and 100km run held on an ice sheet in the shadow of the Ellsworth Mountains just a few hundred miles from the South Pole

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