1. No Polar Bears in Antarctica
Polar bears do not live in Antarctica at all. They live in the Artic. Penguins inhabit much of Antarctica, but there is no chance of a penguin encountering a polar bear in the wild. Polar bears are native to areas such as Canada's Northern Territories, Alaska, and other such areas. It is too cold in Antarctica and there for there are no polar bears. But lately, scientists debate moving polar bears to Antarctica as Arctic melts.
2. There are Rivers in Antarctica!
|Onyx River photo source|
One of them is the Onyx River, which carries meltwater eastward. The Onyx River flowing towards Lake Vanda in the Wright "Dry" Valley. Because of the extreme climate, it only flows for two months during the Antarctic summer. It is 40 km (25 mi) long, and while it doesn’t support fish, there is microscopic and algae living in it.
3. The Driest Place on Earth
One of the most interesting facts about Antarctica is the contradiction between the dry climate and the amount of water (70% of the fresh water on Earth). This continent is the driest place on the planet. Even the hottest desert in the world sees more rain than the Dry Valleys (photo), a region in Antarctica. Actually, the entire South Pole receives an average 10 cm (3.9 inches) of precipitation per year.
|Emperor Penguins photo source|
This is the only place on Earth where the Emperor penguin can be found. It is the tallest and the heaviest of all penguin species. Some interesting facts, the Emperor penguin Is the only species to breed during the Antarctic winter, while the Adélie penguin breeds farther south than any other species. There are a total of 6 penguin varieties in Antarctica (of the total number of 17 species).
6. Who Owns Antarctica?
Antarctica has no government and no country owns this continent. While many countries tried to gain the ownership of these lands over the time, a common agreement has been reached, that grants Antarctica the privilege of remaining the only region on earth which is not ruled by any nation.
7. The Meteorites
One of the most interesting facts about this continent is that it is the best place in the world to find meteorites. Apparently, meteorites striking the Antarctic ice sheet are better preserved than anywhere else on Earth. Meteorite fragments from Mars are among the most valuable and unexpected discoveries. Apparently, the escape velocity from that planet would have to be about 18,000 km/h (11 000 mi/km) for this meteorite to be able to reach Earth.
8. No Time Zone
This is the only continent without a time zone. Scientist communities in Antarctica tend to keep either the time relating to their home lands or the supply line that bring them food and other essential goods. One can walk all the 24 time zones in few seconds.
|Leopard Seal photo source|
While a variety of marine animals, such as blue whales, orcas, and fur seals find this continent most welcoming, Antarctica is extremely poor in land animals. One of the biggest forms of life living here is an insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, which is 1.3cm (0,5 inch) long. There are no flying insects, because of the extremely windy conditions. However, black springtails that jump like fleas may be found among penguin colonies. This is not surprisingly since these insects are present everywhere on Earth. Another interesting piece of information, Antarctica is the only continent not to have indigenous species of ants.
10. Global Warming
The main ice covered landmass is Antarctica at the South Pole, with about 90 percent of the world's ice (and 70 percent of its fresh water). Antarctica is covered with ice an average of 2,133 meters (7,000 feet) thick. If all of the Antarctic ice melted, sea levels around the world would rise about 61 meters (200 feet). But the average temperature in Antarctica is -37°C, so the ice there is in no danger of melting, for now. In fact in most parts of the continent it never gets above freezing.
11. The Gigantic Iceberg - B-15
Iceberg B-15 is one of the world's largest recorded icebergs. It measured around 295 km long and 37 km wide (183-23 mi), with a surface area of 11,000 km² (4,250 mi²) — larger than the island of Jamaica. The mass was estimated around three billion tonnes. After almost a decade, parts of B-15 still have not melted.