What is Antarctica?
A: Antarctica is Earth's southernmost and least-populated continent.
Antarctica is situated almost entirely south of the
Antarctic Circle and surrounded by what?
A: The Southern Ocean.
It contains the geographic what?
A: South Pole.
Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent, being how
much larger than Europe?
A: About 40%.
What is its area?
A: 14,200,000 km2 (5,500,000 sq mi).
Most of Antarctica is covered by what?
A: The Antarctic ice sheet, with an average thickness of 1.9 km (1.2 mi).
Antarctica is on average the coldest, driest, and
windiest of the continents, and it has the highest what?
A: Average elevation.
It is mainly a polar desert, with what annual
A: Over 200 mm (8 in) along the coast and far less inland.
About 70% of the world's freshwater reserves are what?
A: Frozen in Antarctica, which if melted would raise global sea levels by almost 60 meters (200 ft).
Antarctica holds the record for the lowest what?
A: The lowest measured temperature on Earth, −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F).
The coastal regions can reach what temperatures in
A: Over 10 °C (50 °F).
Native species of animals include what?
A: Mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades.
Where vegetation occurs, it is mostly in the form of
A: Lichen or moss.
The ice shelves of Antarctica were probably first seen
in 1820, during what?
A: A Russian expedition led by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev.
The decades that followed saw further exploration in
expeditions from where?
A: French, American, and British.
The first confirmed landing was by whom?
A: A Norwegian team in 1895.
In the early 20th century, there were a few expeditions
A: The interior of the continent.
British explorers were the first to reach what?
A: The magnetic South Pole in 1909.
The geographic South Pole was first reached in 1911 by
A: Norwegian explorers.
Antarctica is governed by about 30 countries, all of
which are parties of what?
A: The 1959 Antarctic Treaty System.
According to the terms of the treaty,
activity, mining, nuclear explosions, and nuclear waste disposal are all
A: Prohibited in Antarctica.
What are the main human activities in and around
A: Tourism, fishing, and research.
During the summer months, about 5,000 people reside at
A: Research stations, a figure that drops to around 1,000 in the winter.
Despite its remoteness, human activity has a
significant impact on the continent via what?
A: Pollution, ozone depletion and climate change.
Antarctica as a name was adopted in the 1890s, with the
first use of the name being attributed to whom?
A: The Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew.