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Encyclopedia > Antarctic
Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earth's South Pole. It is the coldest place on earth and is almost entirely covered by ice. It is not to be confused with the Arctic, which is located near the Earth's North Pole on the opposite side of the planet.

Although legends and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") go back to antiquity, the first commonly accepted sighting of the continent occurred in 1820 and the first verified landing in 1821. A 1513 map by Admiral Piri Reis, however, contains a southern continent that bears a possible resemblance to the Antarctic coast. (See also History of Antarctica).

Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in area, after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. However, it is by far the smallest in population: indeed, it has no permanent population at all. It is also the continent with the highest average altitude, and the lowest average humidity of any continent on Earth, as well as the lowest average temperature.

It has been assigned the Internet ccTLD .aq.


Antarctic Climate

Main article: Climate of Antarctica. See-also: sea level rise.


Main article: Geography of Antarctica

Subsidery article: Extreme points of Antarctica

Territorial claims

Territorial claims of Antarctica

Several nations, particularly those close to the continent, made territorial claims in the 20th century. These claims have little practical relevance due to the Antarctic Treaty which came into effect in 1961, but continue to be observed by cartographers.

Most countries that have observation or study facilities in Antarctica have those facilities within their claimed territory. The Antarctic Treaty defers these claims and most other nations do not recognize them. No other nations have made claims themselves, although the United States and Russia assert the right to do so.

  • Argentina: 25W to 74W; overlaps Chilean and British claims; claimed 1943 as part of the Tierra del Fuego - Antarctica & South Atlantic Isles province
Tabletop icebergs in Antarctica


Palmer Station

It is usually estimated that at a given time there are at least 1,000 people living in Antarctica. This varies strongly with season.

Antarctica has no permanent residents, but a number of governments maintain permanent research stations on the continent. Many of the stations are staffed around the year. These include:

Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person born in Antarctica, his mother having been sent there by the Argentinian government to give birth.

Literature set in Antarctica


The Antarctic Treaty prohibits any measures of a military nature in Antarctica, such as the establishment of military bases and fortifications, the carrying out of military manoeuvers, or the testing of any type of weapon. It permits the use of military personnel or equipment for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes.

The United States military issues the Antarctica Service Medal to those members of the military who perform research duty on the Antarctica continent.

See also

External links

Continents of the World
Africa | Antarctica | Asia | Australia | Europe | North America | South America

(The Pacific Islands in Oceania are not part of any continent.)

Regions of the World

Antarctica | East Asia | Central Asia | Southeast Asia | South Asia | North Asia | Middle East | Levant | Arabia | North Africa | Central Africa | Congo | Guinea | Sahel | Sudan | West Africa | East Africa | Southern Africa | Great Plains | Central America | Caribbean | Andean States | Eastern South America | Northern South America | Western Europe | Eastern Europe | Northern Europe | Scandinavia | Southern Europe | Central Europe | Balkans | Micronesia | Melanesia | Polynesia
(For more, visit subcontinent and subregion)

  Results from FactBites:
Antarctic cod - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (252 words)
Despite its name, the Antarctic Cod is quite unrelated to the true cod; it is not even in the same order, being classified as a perciform rather than a gadiform.
Antarctic Cod have a lightweight cartilaginous skeleton, no swim bladder and fatty deposits which allow them to live in middle level waters.
The Antarctic Cod fishery doubled from 626 tonnes in 2000-2001 to 1321 tonnes in 2001-2002.
British Antarctic Survey - (668 words)
The Antarctic Large Marine Ecosystem is defined by the Antarctic Convergence (or Antarctic Polar Front), the boundary oscillating between 48 and 60 degrees of South Latitude that separates the colder Antarctic surface waters from the warmer sub-Antarctic waters to the North.
Antarctic ice seals, Antarctic fur seals and seabirds are studied by many laboratories around the world.
The Antarctic continent and surrounding Southern Ocean are administered under the Antarctic Treaty system which is the whole complex of arrangements made for regulating relations among states in the Antarctic.
  More results at FactBites »



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