15 Facts about Antarctica-Earth’s southernmost continent

I gathered 15 interesting facts about Antarctica. I am pretty sure that you knew some of the facts before. Nevertheless, there is some interesting information about Antarctica in my list that you probably never heard before.

1. Antarctica is earth’s Southernmost continent.

Antarctica Map

Antarctica locates in the Southern hemisphere and it is surrounded by the southern ocean.

2. Antarctica is the 4th largest continent.

Its size is smaller than Asia, Africa, North America, and South America, but it is twice the size of Australia.

3. Antarctica is the windiest and coldest continent.

blowing wind in Antarctica

As most of us already know, Antarctica is covered with ice. And, that indicates how cold is the continent. The average temperature in the continent varies depending on the location. Usually, the temperature is somewhere between – 10 and – 60Celsiuss. There some even colder spots, such as Vostok station, where the lowest temperature, 89.2 celsius was recorded in 1983. Comparing with the climate of other continents, the climate in Antarctica is harsh and cold. To get the idea about how cold it is,  just check your freezer temperature. The average temperature in your freezer is only – 15 Celsius.

4. Antarctica is the driest continent

When we think about a desert, we imagine hot and sandy deserts. Interestingly, Antarctica is also categorized as a desert, because of its low precipitation rate. Annual precipitation in Antarctica is only 8 inches (200 mm), and most precipitation happens in the areas closer to the coast.

5. Antarctica is the highest continent on the planet.

Antarctica is the highest in elevation comparing with other continents. The average elevation of other continents is about 8.200 ft. The average elevation of Antarctica is 9300 ft. The highest point of Antarctica is the Mount Vinson, which is 16, 050 ft.

6. Who governs Antarctica?

Antarctica Treaty System (ATS) is governing Antarctica. This treaty allows conducting scientific observations and researches on the continent. However, It restricts all the nations using its land for military purposes and exploitation of its natural resources.

7. What is Antarctica mean?

Antarctica means “opposite to the north” in Greek. After the work of Scottish cartographer Bartholomew, the word “Antarctica” was accepted in 1890 as the formal name of this cold continent.

8. Antarctica never had an indigenous population. 

Only about 1000 to 5000 people reside in Antarctica. The continent does not have an indigenous population because of its harsh weather conditions. Currently, only researchers from different parts of the world live there temporarily. They live in special-built research stations.

9. Who was the first person to reach Antarctica?

Two captains of Imperial Russian Navy, von Bellingshausen, and Lazarev were the first two people who reached Antarctica. This event took place in 1820. Now, let’s move on to the next interesting facts about Antarctica.

10. Who landed in Antarctica first?

Although some of the historians have contrary thoughts about this, it is believed that American sealer, John Davis, landed on this icy continent on February 7, 1821.

11. Antarctica has more than 70 lakes, but they lie beneath the ice sheet.

Some may find it surprising when they learn that there are many lakes in Antarctica.  It is true. There are well over 70 lakes in Antarctica. These lakes are invisible since they are buried deep under the ice sheets. Scientists believed that these lakes were sealed off for 500,000 to million years. Interestingly, some scientists suggest that there is a possible existence of microbial life inside these lakes.

12. Was Antarctica always cold?

Antarctica was not always the coldest continent. Historically, it was part of the supercontinent, Gondwana, about 170 million years ago. As geologists suggest, during that period, Antarctica was inhabited by various life forms, and some parts even had tropical forests.

13. Antarctica has rich resources of coal, oil and natural gas, but exploitation is banned.

One of the interesting facts about Antarctica relates to its natural resources. Although Antarctica is rich on mineral resources such as coal, oil and natural gas, countries cannot exploit these resources due to the rules of the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty bans such activities until 2048.

14. What lives in Antarctica?

The wildlife in Antarctica mainly consists of penguins, seals, whales, seabirds, albatrosses, and invertebrates. According to the scientific survey of 2010, it was estimated that there are more than 235 marine organisms in that region.

penguins in Antarctica

seals in antarctica

15. Does anything grow in Antarctica?

Plants are very limited in Antarctica due to the freezing weather conditions, dry seasons, poor soil quality and limited sunlight. One can find mainly some species of bryophytes, mosses, liverworts, flowering plants in some parts of the continent.

If you want to learn more about Antarctica, we recommend watching the documentary below.

This is the end of 15 Facts about Antarctica. If you liked our facts about Antarctica, please share it on social media.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
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