15 Totally Surprising Facts About the Antarctica – The Coldest, the Driest and the Windiest Continent on Our Planet

    15 Totally Surprising Facts About the Antarctica – The Coldest, the Driest and the Windiest Continent on Our Planet
    Greg

    7:20 PM EDT, April 29, 2023, updated: 6:00 PM EDT, May 1, 2023

    The Antarctic, often referred to as 'The Kingdom of Penguins', is one certainly the least explored continent.

    Perhaps that is why the facts we have collected below might come as a big surprise for you.

    #1 'How dry!'

    David Saul/wikimedia
    David Saul/wikimedia

    Although most of the Antarctic is covered with the ice cap, there are areas with no snow or ice at all. Moreover, these are places which have had no rain or snow for at least 2,000 years.

    #2 Speaking of sizes

    imgur
    imgur

    The area of the Antarctic is 14,200,000 square kilometers, which makes it the fifth biggest continent. The coast of the Antarctic is about 1,000 kilometers away from South America, 3,100 km from Australia and 3,980 km away from Africa.

    #3 The land of meteorites

    Proteon/reddit
    Proteon/reddit

    Although meteorites might actually hit any spot in the world, this is the Antarctic where most of them are found. They also happen to be found in really good condition there. And there are two reasons for that. First, thanks to harsh weather conditions they do not corrode so quickly and remain almost intact for years; second, on plain white ground spotting them is much easier than anywhere else.

    #4 It takes two

    unsplash
    unsplash

    We all need to love and to be loved. That refers to scientists, too. In fact, this is mainly them who lives in the Antarctic. So far, there has been only one case of anyone managing to find a partner via the popular Tinder app. All we know that the lucky guy was American and that he did meet the girl he had found. It took him 45 minutes to fly by helicopter to meet her.

    #5 No more dog sleds

    unsplash
    unsplash

    Whenever you think of the North Pole or the South Pole, somehow dog sleds spring to your mind. The truth is, however, that dog sleds are no longer allowed in the Antarctic although it was a very efficient way of getting around on this rough land. The problem is that it was feared that canine distemper, a disease affecting a number of animals including dogs, could also be transmitted to the local population of seals.

    #6 Bloody waterfall

    Peter Rejcek/wikipedia
    Peter Rejcek/wikipedia

    In the Antarctic there are Blood Falls. They really look as if it was blood coming out. It is an outflow of red water, the color caused by a high content of iron-oxide.

    #7 Glaciers larger than islands

    unsplash
    unsplash

    From time to time, a compact mass of snow and ice cracks and comes off the main cap. The pieces can be gigantic. The largest on record came off in 2000 and it was the size of Jamaica.

    #8 Ban on appendix

    ilviaggiordomo / instagram
    ilviaggiordomo / instagram

    Everyone who moves to Villas Las Estrellas, a town in the Antarctic, needs to have their appendix removed first as the nearest hospital is about 1,000 km away. The town is inhabited by scientists and the personnel of Chilean air force and navy. Some of them bring their families along.

    #9 The lowest infant death rate

    unsplash
    unsplash

    Emilio Marcos Palma is the first person on record to have been born in the Antarctic. It was in 1978 in a Argentinean facility called Esperanza Research Base. Since then another 10 children have been born there. As none of them died, The Antarctic boasts about having the lowest infant death rate of 0%.

    #10 'This is cold!'

    xenixesa / reddit
    xenixesa / reddit

    The lowest temperatures on record all come from the Antarctic. They could be as low as -98 degrees C.

    #11 Blue and green glaciers

    /ppppie_ / reddit
    /ppppie_ / reddit

    Blue glaciers are formed form older glaciers (the lower layers), they are deprived of the trapped air bubbles and can absorb sun rays without reflecting them. You can also come across blue and green glaciers, which are formed from shelf glaciers, containing some organic substances, for example algae

    #13 Precious resources

    unsplash
    unsplash

    The Antarctic holds as much as 70% of the world's freshwater supplies. Due to the global warming changes, more and more countries experience water shortages. That is why these supplies can soon become priceless.

    #14 A valuable discovery

    nationalgeographic
    nationalgeographic

    In 2015 a team of Swedish scientists accidentally came across a sample of human sperm dating back to 50 million years ago. This is the oldest sperm in the world.

    #15 Penguins

    mummabia
    mummabia

    In the Antarctic you can sometimes become the mother of a small penguin for a while ;) The emperor penguins spend there all their lives.

    Which fact surprised you the most?
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