Though it’s larger than both Europe and Australia, Antarctica remains almost entirely uninhabited.
This mysterious continent is home to Hardy wildlife and the occasional scientist but most of the
region remains completely enigmatic but with advancements and Science
we are slowly learning more about this frozen continent.
Today we’re exploring
Top 10 Facts About Antarctica
10. Volcanic Activity
We don’t normally associate ice and volcanoes but both of these elements
exist in abundance in Antarctica.
In fact Antarctica is home to the largest volcanic region on earth.
it is home to at least 91 different volcanoes most of which are deeper
than the best ice sheet with the highest as tall as the Eiger which stands in almost 4000 m in Switzerland.
There have been no eruption in Antarctica for more than 2000 years but by some measurements,
the region is overdue measuring volcanoes in Antarctica is problematic as the traditional means of
assessing volcanoes heat and smoke are difficult to assess in sources
very deep below the ice and the activity of this range could have worrying consequences.
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If one of these volcanoes were to irrupt, it could further destabilize west antarctic ice sheet said
glacier expert Robert Bingham.
Of the many volcanoes that protrude above the surface, the most active is mount Arribas which
stands about 12,400 Feet above sea level, it is located in the Ross dependency
on Ross Island which is also home to three inactive volcanoes. Mount terror, mount bird and mount Terranova.
The volcano has been active since about 1.3 million years ago.
9. Abundant Resources
Though it appears to be a frozen wasteland, antarctica is actually home to plentiful natural resources,
the vast majority of the continent is coded in thick ice making exploration difficult but the
resources are present all the same for example 90 percent
of the world’s freshwater ice and 70% of the total freshwater is stored in Antarctica.
To put that in perspective, if even a single as sheet were to melt,
the earth’s oceans would rise by a whopping 16 feet.
At the moment Antarctica is mostly a hurd for scientific research rather than commercial projects.
But through recent exploration, it is believed to contain large mineral deposit, primarily copper,
some also believe that Antarctica is home to large
petroleum deposit but no one has confirmed this fact due to the Antarctic treaty signed in 1959,
no commercial mining is allowed on Antarctica.
This was a fortunate choice because the continent is home to numerous unique species that would
suffer from large scale industry, it would be further complicated by the fact that no one formally
owns Antarctica and opening the area to commercial pursuit would lead to
a land graft and maybe even a proxy war among the world’s many nations.
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8. Antarctica Was Once A Tropical Continent
In the vast history of the earth, many areas have undergone cataclysmic changes.
Ocean floor has often become deserts and vice versa,
Would you believe that Antarctica was once home to a tropical climate, in fact for most of the past
100 million years the south pole was a tropical paradise, it was a green beautiful place said
Professor Jane Francis of Leeds university school of urban environment.
Lots of ferry mammals including possums and beavers lived there, the weather was tropical it is
only in the recent geological past and it got so cold the study also underlined the extreme contrast
between modern and pass climate conditions in Antarctica
and the extent of global warming Breeds of elevated carbon dioxide levels from the atmosphere.
The exceptionally warm 55 to 48,000,000 years ago was the warmest era in the earth’s history during
the past 70 million years, this is particularly important because it means the atmospheric carbon
dioxide is trapped in the ice from this.
As the ice melts it will release the carbon dioxide and create a Feedback loop,
if it continues unabated, this will result in a major climate shift with cataclysmic results.
It’s possible that Antarctica will return to a tropical state in the near future.
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7. Babies Of Antarctica
In total 11 babies have been born on Antarctica and remarkably none of them died as infants.
Antarctica therefore, has the lowest infant mortality rate of any continent at 0%,
the first human born on Antarctica was Emilio Marcos Palmer who was born in Argentina armies Esperanza base near the tip of the Antarctic venezuela on January 7,
1978, it’s worth was not happenstance however, at that time Britain,
Chile and Argentina were competing to affirm the sovereignty of the eye Island,
one way for a government to demonstrate its commitment in a certain order of authority was to
populate the land with native born citizens,
so the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet airlifted a pregnant Chilean woman under the barren
landscape so she could give birth to a Chilean baby And arctic soil,
the ensuing joke apparently was the Chileans were sending recently married
couples to their own Antarctic base in order to claim the first baby both conceived and born in the territory.
To this day, Chile is the only country with non-scientific settlements on the South Pole,
American country has two full-time military outpost with populations in the low hundreds.
6. Areas With No Precipitation
The most of the continent is coded in snow there are parts of Antarctica that have been dug the
driest place on earth, an area called the drive Elise has seen no rain for nearly 2,000,000 years,
there is absolutely no precipitation in this region and it makes up at 4800 km² region of almost no water,
ice or snow.
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The similarity between to rain in nature with mars surface has allowed NASA to conduct experiments.
It became the perfect place to test the Hill-slope ability of Viking spacecraft but that pales in
comparison to the Hills which have not seen water in 14 million years.
The next Driest place in the world is the Atacama desert in Chile and Peru, there were no bleachers that feed water to this area and thus,
very little life can survive. Some weather stations in this region have
not received rain for years while another station reports an average of 1 mm per year.
5. World’s Oldest Sperm
Scientist from Sweden found a fossil ice cocoon in Antarctica containing the worlds oldest sperm,
the discovery of the fossilized sperm Found inside the walls of a 50 million-year-old warm cocoon has been branded remarkable by scientists.
The findings published by the royal society in 2015 say that the specimen is the oldest animal
sperm ever found, the prehistoric sex cells belong to a class of earthworms
Which is called Little Lafa in date from 50 million years ago. When the first horses,
rhinos and sheep are merged, the fossil was able to form and survive so long because the sperm
became trapped in the jelly like wall of the clear life of cocoon before it hardens.
They are similar to bugs becoming trapped in amber the creature was then fossilized and preserved
over millions of years.
Spermatozoa being very transient and delicate are hardly ever preserved in the fossil,
record set the lead author to the study.
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The ancient worm is thought to have secreted the cocoon while mating,
Egg and sperm would then be released into the cocoon and protected by surrounding material.
The cocoon finally being sealed, it will take several hours for the surrounding material to harden.
Biological materials within become trapped in this wall,
researchers suggest this is how the sperm fossil was able to be preserve for millions of years.
4. The Lake That Never Freezes
In Antartica, there is a pond so salty that it is impervious to freezing and remains liquid throughout
the harsh arctic winters. To make matters even stranger, scientists are clueless as to how the lake got there.
seeing as Antarctica is as close as we can get to studying Mars without actually going to the red planet, scientist are keened as to understanding the waters mysterious origins.
Don Juan Pond as the body of water is called almost never freezes due to It ‘s incredibly high salinity
which is wild because the region regularly reaches -100°C with a salinity level of 33.8%,
Don Juan pond is the saltiest of the Antarctic lakes and the second saltiest body of water on earth. Behind the Gaet’ale pond, Ethiopia.
Understanding the ponds origins are not only important for earth science but could also expand our
knowledge of extraterrestrial landscapes in addition to the pond the area also has dark surface
streets indicative of the waters existence, the streets are similar to those found in Mars,
a suggestion of water on the red planet and as any science-fiction film has taught us
“where there is water there is life”.
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3. Antarctica Tinder
Though the south pole is notoriously in hospitable,
it was the side of at least one burgeoning romance.
Back in 2014 and American scientist was working at the McMurdo Station and thought he would get on tinder to pass the time,
he had used the app with limited success back in the states and thought it would be novel to find a
date in the frozen tundra of the South Pole, at first no profile Showed up, but when he expanded
the mass location radius, he found someone, another researcher working at a deep field camp at 45
minute helicopter ride away from the base station, he swiped right indicating his interest and a few minutes later they matched she was actually in her tent in the dry Valley swimming Set,
the scientist who asked not to be named due to concerned that the government would revoke his
Internet privileges if anyone found out he was using precious broadband to look for hookups,
she was quite literally camping in Antarctica, went on tinder and found me it’s mind,
blowing three years later an Agency followed up with the researcher,
he stated he had not set the record for the first hook up in
Antarctica but he really hope he would see the female researcher again.
2. Blood Falls
There is a small waterfall near McMurdo Station that has a very distinctive
and ominous appearance called blood falls.
This hunting waterfall appears to consist of human blood due to do its bright red color,
for years researchers straight away from these false believing that they were bad luck but in recent
years they were able to explain the strange phenomenon.
Image Underneath a glacier help solve the mystery revealing a complex network
of sublethal rivers and is a glacial lake all filled with running high and are giving the falls it’s reddish tint.
The research team calculate that the brine water takes approximately 1.5 billion years to finally
reach the blood falls as it makes its way through features and channels in the glacier,
perhaps most amazingly this unique ecosystem is home to a community of microbes
which has been present for more than 2 million years proving that life can exist in the most extreme locations.
1. Ice Shelf The Size Of France
The Ross ice shelf is the largest ice shelf of Antarctica, it is several hundred meters thick,
the current estimate of its area is about 182,000 mi.² making it roughly the size of France.
The shelf has served as an Important gateway for explorations of the antarctic interior including
those carried out by many of the most famous expeditions, as the idiom goes the visible part of the
Ross I shelf is just the tip of the iceberg, though it rises 50 m above the surface of the water,
the vast majority lies below the oceans waves just as the rest of Antarctica is melting,
the Ross ice shelf is slowly dissolving into the water but
it is a common misconception that the ice shelf itself leads to rising Tide.
Melting of the ice shelves has no direct effect on global sea levels,
The ice is already at equilibrium with the surrounding water but the ice shelves greatly slow the flow of glaciers on the continent that would otherwise slide faster into the ocean causing water
levels to rise if it continues at its current rate, the Ross ice shelf could cause water levels to rise as much as 38 feet.
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