10 mysterious things to know about Antarctica
Antarctica remains a mystery for mankind until today. In a world of endless ice and severe weather lie many mysteries that we haven’t known yet about the 7th continent. Today, let’s find out 10 mysterious things to know about Antarctica to understand more about this wonderful continent.
#1 The coldest continent on Earth
Although they both located on Earth’s poles, the North pole is still much warmer than the South one. The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 58.2°F (14.5°C) while at the world’s coldest place in Antarctica, temperatures can dip below -133°F (-93.2°C). In the center of the continent, the temperature usually go down to -40°C and -60°C. There’s absolutely no other place can get colder than this!
Nothing can be found in Antarctica but ice and snow
#2 Has most ice and snow
It’s very reasonable that this continent has most of the Earth’s ice and snow. The continent is covered in ice with the average thickness about 1 mile (1.6 km). In some parts, the area has been covered in ice for almost 40 million years! The continent itself is also the single biggest mass of ice on Earth.
#3 Has strongest winds
On other continents, wind can be described as a “breeze” but on this one, wind is a real killer. Even at the average speed, wind still blow at 17 or 18 km/s, sometimes, it can go up to 40-50 km/s. At the highest speed, 320 km/s, you can easily be blown away for miles in just seconds. That’s why scientists working here always use ropes and go in groups when they go out.
Antarctica has Earth's strongest wind speed
#4 The driest continent
You think Sahara is Earth’s largest desert? Think again, it’s Antarctica! Due to its freezing temperature and small amount of heat from the sun, there’s hardly any rain here. It’s because the Sun can only melt a small part of ice so there’s little evaporation leads to little rain and snow.
The continent is the driest place on Earth
#5 Has the highest average height from sea level
This is probably the less famous among 10 mysterious things to know about Antarctica. Among other continents, Asia is the continent with the highest average height from sea level – 950 meters. But in compare with Antarctica, this is just a small number. Due to its thick 40-million-year-old ice sheet, Antarctica is about 2,350 meters above sea level. An unnamed canyon here even has the depth of more than 1,6 kilometers, outnumber Great Canyon in America!
Kilometers high ice drifts
#6 The most deserted continent
Because of the harsh environment, only few people can live here. In summer months, the population here is around 4,000. The number decreases into around 1,000 during the long, harsh winters. Most of them are scientists working in 80 research stations on this continent. From 1977 till now, there are only 11 children were born here.
Only humans in Antarctica are scientists
DON'T MISS: Explore Antarctica by Kayak
#7 The most pristine continent on Earth
Having a small number of inhabitants gives Antarctica an almost pristine and unspoiled environment like it had before being discovered in the 19th century. The ice here remains pure for thousands of years, making a perfect environment for scientists to study about Earth’s ancient climate.
#8 Longest day and night
In the poles, there’re only two seasons: summer and winter, each lasts for 6 months. Because the Earth rotates around its own axis and around the sun, the poles have the longest day and night in the world. In Antarctica, the sun never comes down the horizon in summer and in winter, it hardly rises. In here, it even has a whole 1,5 months without sunlight in winter.
First sunrise in Antarctica
#9 The most diverse and richest natural resources
Many people may not know this among 10 mysterious things to know about Antarctica. Remaining untouched for thousands of years combines with the special location, Antarctica owns the world’s richest amount of natural resources. The richest resources of all is krill. With the amount of over 1,5 million tons, krills in Antarctica never seem to reduce or extinct even though the quantity here is as twice as in other places.
Krill seems to be endless in this continent
#10 The most damaged Ozone layer
In 1985, the first hole in the ozone layer of Antarctica was found. From 1996 to 2001, the holes expanded to 24 million kilometer squares, the largest size ever recorded in human’s history. It even got bigger in 2000 with the size of 28 million kilometer squares. Luckily, they are all smaller now. But it’s still an alarm for the increasing temperature and greenhouse effect on Earth.
Because of the ozone hole, sky isn't totally blue here
Above are 10 mysterious things to know about Antarctica. Hope that we helped you understand better our planet and reveal some of Antarctica most mysterious secrets!