A Short Story of Antarctica

Antarctica is a lonely, Ice-clad continent surrounding the South Pole. Antarctica has captured the imagination of many people due to its pristine beauty, huge Ice caps and Penguins!

antarctica                                                         Photo Credit: 23am.com

Some interesting facts about Antarctica:

1. Antarctica is the fifth largest among the seven continents and it is as large as India+China.

2. During Winter, the ocean surrounding Antarctica freezes for around 1500 KM, effectively doubling its size.

3. Antarctic Ice Cap stores about 70% of worlds fresh water.

4. You can see the midnight sun (during summers) and continuous darkness for months (during winters)

5. Glaciers are found around Antarctica and they are large rivers of moving Ice. A small portion of Ice, called Iceberg splits from the mainland and floats in the ocean. The Icebergs can be as large as a city with 10% of Ice visible over the water. They are freshwater, not sea water ice.

6. Temperature in winters can reach up to -70/80 Deg C. Only 2% of land in Antarctica is ice free.

7. Antarctica is the world’s most windiest continent and wind speeds might exceed 200 Km/h at times.

8. Penguins (which are found in Antarctica) have a layer of fat in their body to protect them from extreme cold. Penguins can remember / recognize their family even in a large herd of hundreds of penguins.

9. Seals are actually mammals that have adapted to the sea – Some of them (elephant seals) can grow up to 15 feet long and can weigh up to 4 Tonnes.

10. There are no trees or shrubs in Antarctica. Under the sea, there is a lot of plankton that supports life forms like star fish, whales, etc.

People didn’t know the existence of Antarctica till maybe around 18th Century. The Greeks had previously predicted that there should be a land mass around the South Pole to balance out the land mass in the North pole (Arctic region, which was known earlier).

But it was only in the early 19th Century that Captain James Cook crossed the Antarctic circle with his ship. Since the southern ocean as too ice clad, he had to abandon his mission just before 80 miles of reaching the continent. A short time afterwards, Captain Bellinghausen became the first person to see the continent.

During the early 20th Century, a Norwegian called Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South pole. Almost during the same time, Robert Scott (Great Britain) reached the south pole just days after Amundsen but while going back, all his crew (including himself) died due to lack of food and extreme weather conditions. The dairy that he maintained throughout the journey is very famous.

The Antarctic treaty (1959) agreed upon by many countries, discourages any territorial claims on the continent and it to be a neutral continent of peace and science. Many countries have setup a permanent base in Antarctica for conducting scientific experiments. The  (temporary) human population of Antarctica can go up to 40,000 visitors in summer and 1,500 in winter. There are no permanent residents of Antarctica.

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22 thoughts on “A Short Story of Antarctica

  1. :) good info.. it is beautiful .. one of my friends sent me some pics he was part of team learning polar bear habitat.. it is beautiful very beautiful

    1. Polar bear in arctic region? Wonder how these animals survive there! For us, these places are beautiful but maybe people there think that sunny regions are very beautiful! :)

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  2. Thanks for the info! ^^
    I knew some of it already, but history stuff always seem to escape my brain after some time xD

    And I had no idea so many people visited Antarctica! o:

    1. People visit Antarctica on scientific missions as well as tourism purposes. As the commenter has mentioned below, tourism in Antarctica seems to have picked up.

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  3. One of my dreams is to go there. I have actually heard of some friends of friends who made the trip. It was some sort of tourism thingie. It wasn’t even that expensive, certainly not more expensive than Europe!

    1. When people can plan a tour to moon/ space now, why not Antarctica? :) The inexpensive thing comes as a surprise though. Maybe we can factor the non-availability of malls, theme parks etc over there and hence the considerable reduction of opportunity spending costs? :)

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    1. The picture credit goes to the person whom I have linked to just below the photo. Thanks, anyway.

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    1. I don’t think I will want to visit Antarctica. I can stand heat, but not cold! But wishing you good luck for your journey.

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    1. Yeah, the pic is nice. The greenish tint of the ice along with blue water makes it wonderful!

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  4. Atartica ice is not salty? Interesting!

    Very interesting information, D.I.

    I would love to visit this place to shake hands with Penguins! I love those animal!

    1. Ice-bergs are a source of freshwater it seems! I too like penguins. Want to do a separate post on them, let me try…

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  5. Rajesh, I am so glad I clicked you on sm’s blog.very happy to read nice information about Antarctica. You have picked a very beautiful picture. Thanks.

    1. Picture credit goes to the Flickr stream I have linked. Thanks for your comment and Welcome.

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  6. thanks for those infos on Antractica DI :) Quite interesting especially the diary of R F Scott :)

    someday like to go there :) unpolluted part of Earth :)

    1. I had studied that diary of R F Scott as a part of my English syllabus. It was very moving – I remember some parts of it still. Its just not possible to read the diary of someone who was attempting next-to-impossible things, and is going to die in attempt.

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    1. I guess not – I cannot stand much cold. Even Ooty makes me shiver! I prefer beaches / rivers than ice and snow.

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