Antarctica facts

 Antarctica facts

Antarctica is the southernmost continent of the world, where the South Pole is located. It is the coldest, driest and windiest continent in the world, while it also has the highest average elevation of all the continents. With 14.425 million square kilometers, Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. Antarctica is 98% covered by ice due to no regular and permanent human settlement. Scientists from different countries stay there only for scientific purposes.

The continent was first sighted by Russian navigators Mikhail Lazarev and Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen in 1820.

The Antarctic Treaty was signed between 12 countries in 1988, banning military activities and mineral mining and encouraging scientific research and conservation of the continent's environment. The number of scientists from all over the world who come to Antarctica to carry out various research work increases to more than 5,000 in the summer each year, while the number drops to around 1,000 in the winter.

The highest peak in Antarctica is the Vinson Massif, at 4,892 meters (16,050 ft). It is the coldest place in the world and has the least rainfall. The minimum temperature here reaches minus 80 to minus 90 degrees Celsius. In summer, the maximum temperature in the coastal areas is between 5 and 15 degrees Celsius. The decrease in precipitation can be estimated by the fact that the South Pole receives less than 10 cm (4 in) of rain per year.

Area: 14,000,000 square kilometers (5,400,000 square miles)

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