Amazing Facts about Antarctica
There is no doubt in the fact that life in Antarctica is indeed extreme. Be it the dry valleys or high wind; survival seems like a deadly task. However, just as everything has its pros and cons, the same goes for life in the snow desert. If you feel like you know enough about the place, here are some of the most interesting facts that will leave you surprised. Are you excited to read about it? Let's find out!
Being a continent covered in ice, it would not be fair if we don't talk about the icebergs. The biggest iceberg that was recorded in Antarctica so far is B15. The total area coverage of the iceberg is 11,000 square kilometers, which is larger than the entire territory of Jamaica, and it is supposed to originate from the Ross Shelf in the year 2000.
No Rain For Years
Astonishingly, certain areas in Antarctica have not witnessed rain in 2 million years. These areas are termed as the dry valleys. Nearly 1% of the continent falls under this category and the Australian scientists are of the view that it could expand to 25% by the beginning of the 22nd century.
Power Of Control
Antarctica is a continent. But unlike the other continents, it does not possess any countries within itself. It is a continent that is placed under the control of the Antarctic Treaty. There is no other rule concerned with the Antarctic region.
Antarctica is an incredible source of water, containing 70% of fresh water on earth. The ice sheet in Antarctica is considered to house the largest portion of ice on Earth, which, if melted, could account for more than 90% of the water source. According to scientists, if the ice caps were to melt, it could bring the danger of floods. It can be estimated from this fact that Antarctica possesses an immense supply for water resources.
Volcanoes in the Icy Terrain
Mount Erebus, the most active volcano in the Southern Hemisphere, is located in Antarctica. Located on Ross Island, this volcano was the cause of an accident in 1979, killing all the passengers and crew on board the Air New Zealand Flight 901. Apart from the tragic incident that took place here, Erebus also houses a 1700 degree lava lake which has been observed to bubble quite often.
Secularism Is Everywhere
Despite the small population, Antarctica is far from being secular. The records from the Association of Regional Data Archives show that Christianity forms a major part of the religious belief with a score of 72% of the people following it. In addition to that, the other religious sectors, such as Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, account for 2.71%, 1%, and 0.7% of the population, respectively. Apart from religious diversity, a rather large percentage of residents do not even have a religion, shown by the fact that 23.6% of the individuals are non-religious and untangled in any sort of religious practice.
The undiscovered lakes in Antarctica are often called the "secret lakes," with a wide variety of microorganisms that remain unknown to humanity. These lakes are mainly supposed to be buried under ice covering the most isolated areas, which are still unexplored. According to scientists, the blanket of ice is bound to bring miracles to nature.
If you are interested in the space, this is sure to bring excitement to you. It is believed that there is an equal probability of the meteorites landing on Earth. However, if they land in a humid climate, they might get suspected of the corrosion. In this case, the climate of Antarctica is a boon as it offers a low rate of humidity and dry climate.
The melting ice in Antarctica is not something unheard of, but the quantity and rate certainly are! In the last 25 years, more than 3 trillion tons of ice have melted in Antarctica. Scientific research estimates a further loss of 240 billion tons of ice per year. Judging by the quantity of meltdown, it is something that the world would not be able to cope with.
Sorry, Dogs Are Not Allowed
The seal population in Antarctica is estimated to be around 15 million. To preserve the territorial freedom of the seals and other wildlife, dogs are a big no! Concerns included the spread of diseases, such as canine distemper caused by dogs. It is indeed sad for dog lovers, especially if they prefer to carry their pets along with them while traveling.
Love Is Not Hindered by Distance
Love is unaffected by the differences in the societal parameters or human-defined attributes. You will be astonished to know about one such case that happened with an American scientist in Antarctica. Out of his curiosity for a partner in the deserted area, he decided to try out his luck on the famous dating app, Tinder. Luck seemed like an opponent to him at first but as soon as the geographical span was extended, the case was no longer the same. It was a match with a researcher working at a distance of 45 minutes by helicopter.
The First Human of Antarctica
The first-ever birth that Antarctica witnessed was of Emilio Marcos Palma. He was born in the homely little town of Esperanza. Since his birth on the continent, ten more births have been recorded. The southmost continent on earth has a population of 1106 people as of 2020.
No Time Zones?
Punctuality might be at risk in Antarctica if you are accustomed to following a time zone. There is no particular time zone followed in Antarctica. The meeting of all the lines of longitude at a single point causes the continent to experience half a year of summers and winters accordingly. Hence, travelers or scientists prefer to follow the time zones of their native place.
No Ants in the Pants!
If you have Myrmecophobia, Antarctica is certainly a place for you! Amidst the cold weather and windy atmosphere, ants do not exist in the Antarctic and Arctic terrain. This makes the place safe for people who might wage war against the ants just because of their aversion to those tiny little creatures.
Antarctica Is a Desert
A desert is believed to contain dunes with scorching temperatures. This is what most of us believe in anyway. But technically, a desert need not harbor these aspects. In simple terms, any region with little precipitation is considered a desert, and the same goes for Antarctica. Yes, Antarctica is a desert. The precipitation is around 50 mm annually on average, which comes down either in the form of ice or snow.
The year 1911 in Antarctica witnessed a weird mystery. It was concerned with the addition of a red tinge to the water flowing from the Taylor Glacier. It was a matter of speculation for several years until the scientists declared that the red color was a result of the high amounts of oxidized iron and salt present in the flowing water. Based on its sparkling red color, it was named the Blood Falls.
Despite the low rate of precipitation in Antarctica, it does not restrain itself from boasting about the icy wonders it has got. As a result of the humid air near the Earth's surface, tiny pieces of ice crystalize in the atmosphere. When light falls on them, they look the tiny bits of diamonds floating around in the air.
Yes! Antarctica Has an ATM
Money is necessary for human survival. For an individual anywhere in the world, it is easy to make a transaction by cash as you can always run to an ATM and get more money. Well, if you are fond of cash payments and you are situated in Antarctica, this procedure might not serve as the best way of payment because despite having an ATM installed at the McMurdo station, it is often out of order and there is a line you would not prefer to wait in.
Having read about the human-related and scientific facts about Antarctica, let's dive into the geographic span of the continent. The total surface area of the continent is estimated to be 5.5 million square miles. This area also doubles in the winter due to the ice formed along the coastline. It is also inherently astonishing that the size of Australia is only half the size of Antarctica, while the U.S. can technically cover one-third of Antarctica.
Towns in Antarctica
Most people think of Antarctica as a deserted place with no sign of human habitation. It is flabbergasting to know that Antarctica houses two towns that are highly civilized, close to Latin America. The first town between the two is Villa Las Estrellas which is also the larger one between them. It laid its foundation in the year 1984. The smaller one is Esperanza Base which is home to the Argentinian research crew.
Native To An Insect
Belgica Antarctica is an insect that is found only in Antarctica. It feeds on the bacteria and algae-rich waste produced by the penguins. In one way it can be termed as the toughest animal to survive on the continent. Its high endurance can be termed its ability to lose 70% of the water which is enormous in contrast to the other animals or insects.
Antarctica is a beautiful place. It possesses such attributes that make it unique as compared to the rest of the world. Despite being a place covered in snow with a lack of basic amenities, it is not far from portraying its glamour to the rest of the world. Be it the icy cold winds or the high shiny mountain tops, Antarctica always has something to offer its visitors.
Sources: Live Science, Outdoor Revival, World Population Review, The World Geography, Antarctica Guide, BBC, Aurora Expeditions, Science Daily, Scientific American, Cool Antarctica, Britannica, Mashable, BizNews