There one will find also the typical Tundra vegetation. [194] The primary response by Antarctic Treaty Parties has been to develop, through their Committee for Environmental Protection and in partnership with IAATO, "site use guidelines" setting landing limits and closed or restricted zones on the more frequently visited sites. [90], The geological study of Antarctica has been greatly hindered by nearly all of the continent being permanently covered with a thick layer of ice. The motion of the ice sheet tends to concentrate the meteorites at blocking locations such as mountain ranges, with wind erosion bringing them to the surface after centuries beneath accumulated snowfall. In 1998, a compromise agreement was reached to place an indefinite ban on mining, to be reviewed in 2048, further limiting economic development and exploitation. If found, these resilient creatures could further bolster the argument for extraterrestrial life in extremely cold, methane-rich environments. [157][158], The first semi-permanent inhabitants of regions near Antarctica (areas situated south of the Antarctic Convergence) were British and American sealers who used to spend a year or more on South Georgia, from 1786 onward. Offshore, temperatures are also low enough that ice is formed from seawater through most of the year. Mount Erebus and Mount Terror are named after two ships from his expedition: HMS Erebus and Terror. Currently, the only ice sheets are in Antarctica and Greenland. Travel is largely by small or medium ship, focusing on specific scenic locations with accessible concentrations of iconic wildlife. Lake Vostok, discovered beneath Russia's Vostok Station in 1996, is the largest of these subglacial lakes. Under such severe and harsh conditions there is hardly any vegetation in the Antarctic. He sailed along a huge wall of ice that was later named the Ross Ice Shelf. However, unlike the Arctic, Antarctica has a permanent landmass under a layer of ice rather than consisting entirely of ice floating on water. Mosses and lichens dominate though. Sand and silts were laid down in what is now the Ellsworth, Horlick and Pensacola Mountains. Lichens have been discovered growing on isolated mountains within 475 km (295 mls) of the South Pole. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thus about 70% of the world's fresh water). Tourist attractions in Antarctica are: Deception island, formerly a whaling station, is popular … At 14,200,000 square kilometres (5,500,000 square miles), it is the fifth-largest continent and nearly twice the size of Australia. ... (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis), are found on the northern and western parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Cold conditions and absence of soil cover do not favour the growth of plants. There is a major dispute about when Antarctic vegetation died out. Several bases are now home to families with children attending schools at the station. He is credited with implementing mechanised land transport on the continent and conducting extensive geological and biological research. In the dry valleys, the same effect occurs over a rock base, leading to a desiccated landscape. [21] Cook came within about 120 km (75 mi) of the Antarctic coast before retreating in the face of field ice in January 1773.[22]. Scattered trees grow in some tundra. Millions of years ago the climate in Antarctica was warmer, and was able to support flora well into the Neogene. It is the fifth largest continent, and makes up most of the Antarctic region. Krill congregates in large schools and is an important food for many animals including whales, seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and other birds. Third, the Earth is at aphelion in July (i.e., the Earth is farthest from the Sun in the Antarctic winter), and the Earth is at perihelion in January (i.e., the Earth is closest to the Sun in the Antarctic summer). Geologists tend to study plate tectonics, meteorites from outer space, and resources from the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. The primary economic activity is the capture and offshore trading of fish. In fact, it is the only treeless continent in the world. The algae and lichens grow where there is moisture, and they hide in cracks to be protected from the wind. [49] For this crossing, Ousland also holds the record for the fastest unsupported journey to the South Pole, taking just 34 days. [111], In 2002 the Antarctic Peninsula's Larsen-B ice shelf collapsed. Antarctic fisheries in 2000–01 reported landing 112,934 tonnes. Antarctic krill, which congregate in large schools, is the keystone species of the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean, and is an important food organism for whales, seals, leopard seals, fur seals, squid, icefish, penguins, albatrosses and many other birds. [193], There has been some concern over the potential adverse environmental and ecosystem effects caused by the influx of visitors. The researchers were thus able to reconstruct the local vegetation on Antarctica and, accordingly, interpret the presence of tropical and subtropical rainforests covering the … [10], Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC. [64], In September 2018, researchers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a high resolution terrain map (detail down to the size of a car, and less in some areas) of Antarctica, named the "Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica" (REMA). [128], There is a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" over Antarctica. They proposed instead that a comprehensive regime to protect the Antarctic environment be negotiated in its place. Vegetation and Wildlife of Antarctica. [190][191][192] As of 2015, there are two Wells Fargo ATMs in Antarctica, both located at McMurdo Station. [160], Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person born south of the 60th parallel south, the first born on the Antarctic mainland, and the only living human to be the first born on any continent. If you get a chance to dive in Antarctica you’ll see what a vital role Antarctic krill plays for the ecosystem. [62][63] On 7 February 2008, a NASA team embarked on a mission to Lake Untersee, searching for extremophiles in its highly alkaline waters. Species are generally divided between those found on the subantarctic islands, those found on … Antarctica Facts - Fauna/Wildlife: There are not many species living on the Antarctic continent. [37], During the Nimrod Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton in 1907, parties led by Edgeworth David became the first to climb Mount Erebus and to reach the South Magnetic Pole. This ice is formed from the ocean water and floats in the same water and thus does not contribute to rise in sea level. [207], This large collection of meteorites allows a better understanding of the abundance of meteorite types in the solar system and how meteorites relate to asteroids and comets. [82] In the Eocene epoch, about 40 Ma Australia-New Guinea separated from Antarctica, so that latitudinal currents could isolate Antarctica from Australia, and the first ice began to appear. Many of the stations are staffed year-round, the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. [144], About 1,150 species of fungi have been recorded from Antarctica, of which about 750 are non-lichen-forming and 400 are lichen-forming. The overfishing of krill, which plays a large role in the Antarctic ecosystem, led officials to enact regulations on fishing. There is also evidence of volcanic activity, even after the ice sheet had formed, in Marie Byrd Land and Alexander Island. [176] The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (the "Madrid Protocol") was negotiated as other countries followed suit and on 14 January 1998 it entered into force. [2] This included forests of podocarps and southern beech. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer, giving it a population density between 70 and 350 inhabitants per million square kilometres (180 and 900 per million square miles) at these times. The ice makes them gather in one place. Exploitation of all mineral resources is banned until 2048 by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty. [188] The 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty also restricts a struggle for resources. Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. The claims of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France and Norway are all recognised by each other. The Antarctican dollar, a souvenir item sold in the United States and Canada, is not legal tender. Compared with meteorites collected in more temperate regions on Earth, the Antarctic meteorites are well-preserved. ", "Protocol on Environmental Protection To The Antarctic Treaty (The Madrid Protocol)", Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, "The Foreign Secretary has announced that the southern part of British Antarctic Territory has been named Queen Elizabeth Land", "Argentina angry after Antarctic territory named after Queen", "Final Report, 30th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting", "2015–2016 Tourists by Nationality Total", "The World's Loneliest ATM is in Antarctica", "Private Issues – The Antarctica Issues and the NORFED Issues", "A history of McMurdo Station through its architecture", "Adelie Penguins thriving amid Antarctica's melting ice", "Polar Geospatial Center Releases New Application with High-Res Satellite Imagery", "Explorers of a Different Kind: A History of Antarctic Tourism 1966-2016", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Antarctica&oldid=1008256819, Articles with French-language sources (fr), CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of January 2021, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia pages semi-protected against vandalism, Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pages, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with multiple identifiers, Geographical articles missing image alternative text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Ice stream/outlet glacier (ice front or ice wall), 044°38′E to 136°11′E, and 142°02′E to 160°00′E, 80°00′W to 74°00′W claimed by Chile (1940), 74°00′W to 53°00′W claimed by Chile (1940) and Argentina (1943), 53°00′W to 25°00′W claimed by Argentina (1943), 90°00′W to 74°00′W claimed by the United Kingdom (1908), 74°00′W to 53°00′W claimed by the United Kingdom (1908) and Argentina (1943), 74°00′W to 53°00′W claimed by the United Kingdom (1908) and Chile (1940), 53°00′W to 25°00′W claimed by the United Kingdom (1908), This page was last edited on 22 February 2021, at 11:15. [200] Medical physicians have made discoveries concerning the spreading of viruses and the body's response to extreme seasonal temperatures. Most of these meteorites have fallen onto the ice sheet in the last million years. The Antarctic hosts the world's largest protected area comprising 1.07 million km 2, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Marine Protection Area created in 2012. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with ann Most early Antarctic expeditions through the 19th century had either direct or indirect economic incentives. Antarctica was also part of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, which gradually broke up by plate tectonics starting 110 million years ago. The latter made a temporary landing; while the Wilkes expedition, though it did not make a landing, did remain long enough in the region to survey and map some 800 miles of the continent. [196], About thirty countries maintain about seventy research stations (40-year-round or permanent, and 30 summer-only) in Antarctica, with an approximate population of 4000 in summer and 1000 in winter. [1], The ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 "AQ" is assigned to the entire continent regardless of jurisdiction. Extremely cold temperatures, little sunlight and moisture, poor soil quality, and a short growing period have deterred most species of flora from successfully growing in this barren ecosystem. [205], Astrophysicists at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station study the celestial dome and cosmic microwave background radiation. At the continent's edge, strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. Northern Antarctica recorded a temperature of 20.8 °C (69.4 °F) on 9 February 2020, the highest recorded temperature on the continent. An expedition led by Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen from the ship Fram became the first to reach the geographic South Pole on 14 December 1911, using a route from the Bay of Whales and up the Axel Heiberg Glacier. English: Scientific names Fungi - Ascomycota - Ascomycetes - Lecanorales - Parmeliaceae Zenker, 1827 – Usnea Species: Usnea antarctica Du Rietz, 1926. [131] The ozone hole is attributed to the emission of chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs into the atmosphere, which decompose the ozone into other gases. The ocean, however, teems with fish and other marine life. The continent of Antarctica makes up most of the Antarctic region. [136], Few terrestrial vertebrates live in Antarctica, and those that do are limited to the sub-Antarctic islands. Africa is the second largest continent in the world. [130] Ozone absorbs large amounts of ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere. [153], The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (also known as the Environmental Protocol or Madrid Protocol) came into force in 1998, and is the main instrument concerned with conservation and management of biodiversity in Antarctica. [103], The aurora australis, commonly known as the southern lights, is a glow observed in the night sky near the South Pole created by the plasma-full solar winds that pass by the Earth. Geologically, West Antarctica closely resembles the Andes mountain range of South America. [120], Melting of floating ice shelves (ice that originated on the land) does not in itself contribute much to sea-level rise, since the ice displaces only its own mass of water. A study by Eric Steig published in 2009 noted for the first time that the continent-wide average surface temperature trend of Antarctica was slightly positive from 1957 to 2006. [88], A study from 2014 estimated that during the Pleistocene, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) thinned by at least 500 m (1,600 ft), and that thinning since the Last Glacial Maximum for the EAIS area is less than 50 m (160 ft) and probably started after c. 14 ka. Over time these swamps became deposits of coal in the Transantarctic Mountains. The first documented landing on Antarctica was by the American sealer John Davis, apparently at Hughes Bay, near Cape Charles, in West Antarctica on 7 February 1821, although some historians dispute this claim. [68] Antarctica was not always cold, dry, and covered in ice sheets. [71] During the Permian period, the land became dominated by seed plants such as Glossopteris, a pteridosperm which grew in swamps. The illegal fishing of toothfish has been increasing, with estimates of 32,000 tonnes (35,000 short tons) in 2000. [36] Mercator Cooper landed in East Antarctica on 26 January 1853. There are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of liverworts, but only three species of flowering plants, all of which are found in the Antarctic Peninsula: Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hair grass), Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) and the non-native Poa annua (annual bluegrass). Recent decades have witnessed several dramatic collapses of large ice shelves around the coast of Antarctica, especially along the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic sightseeing flights (which did not land) operated out of Australia and New Zealand until the fatal crash of Air New Zealand Flight 901 in 1979 on Mount Erebus, which killed all 257 aboard. Tundra vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens. [61], There is some evidence, in the form of ice cores drilled to about 400 m (1,300 ft) above the water line, that Lake Vostok's waters may contain microbial life. [199], Researchers include biologists, geologists, oceanographers, physicists, astronomers, glaciologists, and meteorologists. It is thought to be the continent where the first humans evolved [55] Several Antarctic ice streams flow to one of the many Antarctic ice shelves, a process known as ice-sheet dynamics. [169] It set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and environmental protection, and banned military activity on Antarctica. This has led to speculation that, if life ever occurred on Mars, it might have looked similar to Antarctic fungi such as Cryomyces antarcticus, and Cryomyces minteri. A drier northern Gondwanan flora had developed in northern South America and northern Africa. Robertson Land, Wilkes Land, and Victoria Land. The continent is the primary location of almost every event in The Thing film, comic-book and video-game series and first appears in the 1982 film The Thing. At 0.00008 people per square kilometre, it is by far the least densely populated continent. The sheet has been of recent concern because of the small possibility of its collapse. It’s so cold that creatures often retreat to the sea to warm up. This included forests of podocarps and southern beech. This area is dominated by small accumulations of snowfall which becomes ice and thus eventually seaward glacial flows. The protozoans dominate … [124] A 2018 systematic review study estimated that ice loss across the entire continent was 43 gigatonnes per year on average during the period from 1992 to 2002 but accelerated to an average of 220 gigatonnes per year during the five years from 2012 to 2017. It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies, so people sometimes also refer to it as clear-sky precipitation. At a number of points in its history, it was farther north, experienced a tropical or temperate climate, and was covered in forests. In particular, their thick-walled and strongly melanised cells make them resistant to UV light. [1], Although coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, gold and other minerals have been found, they have not been in large enough quantities to exploit. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and thirty-eight have signed it since then. In 1969, a Japanese expedition discovered nine meteorites. India was the first to break away, followed by Africa, and then New Zealand, which started to drift north. According to various organisations (the National Science Foundation,[23] NASA,[24] the University of California, San Diego,[25] the Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic,[26] among others),[27][28] ships captained by three men sighted Antarctica or its ice shelf in 1820: Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Imperial Russian Navy), Edward Bransfield (a captain in the Royal Navy), and Nathaniel Palmer (a sealer from Stonington, Connecticut). Antarctica - Antarctica - Animal life: The native land fauna is wholly invertebrate. [155][156], Several governments maintain permanent staffed research stations on the continent. [85] The ice began to spread, replacing the forests that until then had covered the continent. The ecotone (or ecological boundary region) between the tundra and the forest is known as the tree line or timberline. [53] In most of the interior of the continent, precipitation is very low, down to 20 mm (0.8 in) per year; in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation, and so the local mass balance is negative. Antarctica is the Earth's southernmost continent.It is on the South Pole.It is almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle.Around Antarctica is the Southern Ocean.It is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. The only anomalous area of West Antarctica is the Ellsworth Mountains region, where the stratigraphy is more similar to East Antarctica. The Federated States of Antarctica is a highly-ambitious micronation proposed on the Antarctic continent. [73][74] The Antarctic Peninsula began to form during the Jurassic period (206–146 Ma). [43][44][45], It was not until 31 October 1956, that anyone set foot on the South Pole again; on that day a U.S. Navy group led by Rear Admiral George J. Dufek successfully landed an aircraft there. [195] Qantas resumed commercial overflights to Antarctica from Australia in the mid-1990s. It is suggested a paleobotanical habitat similar to the extant cool temperate Valdivian rainforests. For other uses, see, The word was originally pronounced with the first, John George Bartholomew and the naming of Antarctica, CAIRT Issue 13, National Library of Scotland, July 2008, ISSN 1477-4186, and also, CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of January 2021 (, Russian State Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic, List of Antarctic and subantarctic islands, Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resources, International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, "Bedmap2: improved ice bed, surface and thickness datasets for Antarctica", "The World at a Glance: Surprising Facts", "Coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth in Antarctica: -94.7C (−135.8F)", "Antarctic Explorers Timeline: Early 1800s", "Women in Antarctica: Sharing this Life-Changing Experience", "Dates in American Naval History: October", "Børge Ousland: How I crossed Antarctica alone", "O'Brady's Antarctic Crossing: Was It Really Unassisted? 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