To come close to matching Antarctica’s size, you would need to combine both the United States and Mexico. And it’s not only size that makes Antarctica distinct from any other place on Earth. It is also the highest, driest, coldest, windiest, and brightest continent on our planet. Here are five more fascinating facts about Antarctica:
1. The Dry Valleys in Antarctica are the driest places on earth. With such low humidity and moisture at this portion of the continent, even snow and ice cannot accumulate, which leaves the valleys just a dusty expanse of dirt.
2. Antarctica is, on average, the windiest place on Earth. Scientists exploring this southerly landmass have reported wind speeds that have reached up to 200 miles per hour.
3. The Antarctic ice sheet is the single biggest mass of ice in the world and can be up to four miles thick. The continent as a whole contains about 90% of the planet's fresh water ice and around 70% of the total fresh water on Earth!
4. There are 17 total species of penguins, but the continent of Antarctica is home to only four breeding species of them. By far the most common is the chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica), which owes its name to the narrow black band under its head. The second-most populated is the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae), numbering approximately 2.3 million pairs in Antarctica. Other penguin species on the continent include the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) and the Gentoo penguin (pygoscelis papua).
5. Polar bears don’t eat penguins – it’s a common misconception. Polar bears live in the Arctic and penguins live in Antarctica so the two species will never meet.
THE NEW AGE OF EXPLORATION TRAVEL IS HERE