September 8, 2017
A trip to Antarctica is a journey to one of the most fascinating and beautiful places on the planet. It really changes your perspective on the world thanks to the unique wildlife and the stunning icy wilderness that you will experience. It’s also quite a fascinating continent, too as our fun facts about Antarctica show:
1. Antarctica is always covered in ice. Unlike its northern counterpart, the North Pole, the ice on Antarctica never melts.
2. Antarctica is a landmass that is covered in ice. The North Pole and the Arctic is not land, but a frozen mass on top of the ocean.
3. Antarctica is the windiest, highest and driest place on earth.
4. The average thickness of the ice covering Antarctica is one mile. It can be as thick as three miles in places.
5. Antarctica is 1.3 times as large as Europe, almost 1.5 times the size of the United States of America. It is almost double the size of Australia, also.
The Antarctic landscape truly is breathtaking!
6. Antarctica is also the coldest place on earth. In fact, the coldest temperature ever recorded on the planet was in Antarctica and measured -89.2C on 21 July 1983.
7. 90% of the world’s fresh water is in Antarctica. But it has had no rain or snow for the last 2 million years.
8. Antarctica does not have a time zone. It is the only continent in the world that does not have one.
9. An international treaty called the Antarctic treaty governs the continent of Antarctica.
10. There are no countries in Antarctica. It is one large continent. And there are no permanent residents, although around 1,000 people live here at peak times of the year. They are mainly scientific researchers or military personnel.
11. To work in Antarctica you must pass many rigorous dental and medical examinations to ensure you are at the least risk from experiencing medical issues when you are there. There was once a rumour that you needed to remove your wisdom teeth and appendix before you travelled to work in Antarctica.
12. The word Antarctica comes from a Greek word meaning ‘opposite of the north’.
13. There is a waterfall in Antarctica that flows with red coloured liquid. As Antarctica is a frozen desert, you would not expect to see a waterfall here. Much less a red one. The water that flows at this waterfall comes from a salty lake preserved 400 metres under ground. The water has never been exposed to the sun, is very rich in iron and has no oxygen. When it comes into contact with the air it ‘rusts’ and this gives it a red colour. It’s quite a sight.
The Blood Falls in Antarctica; the outflow is tainted with iron-oxide!
14. Although Antarctica is an incredibly remote region, there is one ATM on Antarctica at McMurdo station and is operated by US bank, Wells Fargo.
15. Antarctica’s ice sheet has been in place for 40 million years.
16. Our final fun fact about Antarctica is perhaps the most startling - Antarctica was once covered in forests and not ice. The ice caps had melted and forests inhabited by dinosaurs stood in their place. Robert Falcon Scott uncovered evidence of this in 1912 when he found fossilised plants on the Beardmore Glacier.
At Expeditions Online, we are experts in Antarctic and Arctic travel. Visiting the Antarctic on one of our Antarctica expeditions will really change your perspective on the world. Over and above the numerous interesting facts about Antarctica, it is a place that really gets under your skin unlike any other place on earth. Get in touch to see if we can meet your travel needs – our advice is independent and expert and we have individually tested every trip we offer.