Facts About Antarctica

  • Antarctica is the fifth largest continent, larger than Europe and Australia, but 98 percent of it is under ice.
  • The Antarctic population is made up mostly of scientists, pilots and other specialists there to do research in the unique polar environment.
  • About 3000 people live in Antarctica in the summer, but less than 500 stay all through the bitter winter.
  • The biggest community in Antarctica is McMurdo which is home to up to 1200 people in summer and has cafés,
  • a cinema, a church and a nuclear power station.
  • People and supplies reach McMurdo either on ice-breaker ships that smash through the sea ice, or by air.
  • McMurdo settlement was built around the hut the British polar explorer Captain Scott put up on his 1902 expedition to the South Pole.
  • The Amundsen–Scott base is located directly underneath the South Pole.
  • Emperor penguins are among the few large creatures that can survive the bitter Antarctic winter. They breed on the ice cap itself.
  • Antarctica has a few valuable mineral resources including copper and chrome ores.
  • There is coal beneath the Transarctic Mountains, and oil under the Ross Sea.
  • Under the Antarctic Treaty of 1961, 27 countries agreed a ban on mining to keep the Antarctic unspoiled. They allow only for scientific geared expeditions to the region.