Antarctica is known to be one of the most fascinating places on earth. Apart from being the least inhabited continent on the face of the earth, it is also the most photogenic place. The ashen wilderness or the golden pink sunsets can never be found anywhere else in the world. And, of course there is always the charm and cuteness of the penguins that make Antarctica unique and irresistible. While many consider Antarctica to be a land of snow and exotic arctic animals, there is a lot about this continent that you do not know. Here are some stunning facts about Antarctica that will make your jaw drop.
10. Believe it or not Antarctica is home to the largest desert in the world. This goes to prove that a desert does not necessarily have to thrive under the scorching sun. The official definition of a desert is a place that receives less than ten inches of rainfall in a year. Antarctica receives less than two inches of rain in a year, which is way lower than the Sahara desert.
9. The coldest temperature ever to be recorded on Earth was a bone chilling minus 128.56 degrees Fahrenheit, which is minus 89.2 degrees Celsius. This phenomenon occurred at the Antarctica’s Vostok station on July 21, 1983. Although temperatures have not dropped as low since then, it is still one of the coldest and most unbearable places on earth.
8. On average, Antarctica is easily the windiest continent in the world. Winds in many places of Antarctica can reach a staggering 200 mph (320 km/h), which is faster than a Ferrari. These strong winds make it extremely difficult to survive in the freezing temperatures of Antarctica. These wind storms strike at any time. One should always be extra careful and predict the forecast accurately before venturing out. Winds of such magnitude can be dangerous and at times, fatal.
7. Facts state that over 90% of the fresh water around the world is found on this freezing continent. This means that you don’t have to go to Antarctica in order to taste its natural resources. With water becoming a scarce resource all over the world, tapping into this natural resource in Antarctica will hold humanity in good stead.
6. Contrary to popular belief, there are absolutely no polar bears found in Antarctica. These animals can be found in the Arctic. Arctic is the warmer of the two and is called ‘The Land of the warming sun’. The Arctic is located in the Northern hemisphere and encompasses countries like Greenland, Russia, and Alaska. The Arctic derives its name from the Greek word ‘Arktikos’, which means ‘near the bear, northern’. Antarctic, on the other hand, means ‘not the bear’. One can, however, find penguins in the Antarctic. Although these names have been given due to the positioning of the stars, remembering them because of the bears or lack of them is very easy.
5. One of the most astonishing facts about Antarctica is that it experiences 24 hours sunlight during summer and 24 hours darkness during winter. Since no one lives in Antarctica permanently, this is not a big problem. The continent does not necessarily fall under any time zone. Researchers who operate here follow their local time zones when in Antarctica. While this may not be a problem for an expedition of a couple of weeks, researchers who live here for longer durations have lost track of time.
4. While Antarctica is known for its cold weather, there are days when temperatures can go as high as 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 17.5 degrees Celsius. The reflective properties of ice and snow often cause the temperature to rise in the area. During summer, this is the perfect weather to soak in the sun and enjoy the warm temperature while it lasts.
3. For those looking for religious refuge in Antarctica, there are seven Christian churches here. These churches have been set up by various research parties that come here. They have claimed that having a place to pray in the most remote continent of the world makes life a lot less lonely.
2. Online dating has become a trend in today’s busy world. Tinder is one of the most popular online dating apps. Believe it or not, a scientist used precious broadband data and found a woman who was camping just forty five minutes away. The two met and instantly fell in love.
1. The most amazing fact about Antarctica is that it is home to the southernmost active volcano on the face of the earth. Mount Erebus, located in Antarctica, creates crystals during its eruption. This is caused due to sodium rich hypabyssal (shallow intrusive) and volcanic rocks. These crystals would make an amazing gift for your loved ones.