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Antarctica Fact File

Quick Antarctic Statistics

1.4 x bigger than the USA
58 x bigger than the UK
1.8 x bigger than Australia
13,829,430 km2
5,339,543 miles2
Ice-free area
(0.32% of total)
44,890 km2
17,330 miles2
Largest Ice Shelves Ross ice shelf:
(about the size of France)
  Ronne-Filchner ice shelf:
(about the size of Spain)
439,920 km2
169,850 miles2
Mountains Transantarctic Mountain chain:
3,300 km
2,050 miles
  Highest 3 mountains:
Mt. Vinson - 4,892 m / 16,050 ft
(sometimes called "Vinson Massif")
Mt. Tyree - 4,852 m / 15,918 ft
Mt. Shinn - 4,661 m / 15,292 ft

Antarctica has 70% of all the world's freshwater frozen as ice - and 90% of all the world's ice.





1,829 m / 6,000 ft
Mean thickness East Antarctica:
2,226 m / 7,300 ft
Mean thickness West Antarctica:
1,306 m / 4,285 ft

Maximum ice thickness:
4,776 m / 15,670ft

Lowest point - Bentley subglacial trench, depth below sea-level
2,496 m / 8,188 ft

M km3 - Million cubic kilometres Volume
25.4 M km3 / 6.09 M miles3
Grounded ice sheets
24.7 M km3 / 5.93 M miles3
Ice shelves:
0.7 M km3 / 0.17 M miles3
Peninsula ice:
0.1 M km3 / 0.024 M miles3
Population About 4,000 on scientific bases in the short summer 1,000 total in winter, around 30,000-40,000 summer tourists - and this place is 1.4 x bigger than the USA! There are NO permanent residents and NEVER has been a native population.
Discovery and Exploration Antarctica was imagined by the ancient Greeks, but not even seen until 1820.

The first time anyone set foot on Antarctica was in 1821.

The first year-round occupation - overwintering - was in 1898.

The South Pole was first reached in 1911.

Climate 3 factors rule in Antarctica - cold, wind and altitude. Antarctica holds the world record for each of these three things.

The temperature falls as you leave the coast as the continent slopes upwards and temperature falls as you go higher.

Lowest recoded on earth - Vostok station -89.2°C / -128.6
Average summer temperature at South Pole -27.5°C / -17.5°F
Average winter temperature at South Pole -60°C / -76°F

Mawson station in Antarctica is the windiest place on earth.
Average wind speed:
37 kmh / 23 mph
Maximum recorded gust:
248.4 kmh / 154 mph

Landforms Antarctica has many landforms - it's a continent! But for the benefit of your geography teacher, here's a few main ones:
coral reef #

# - this is a lie

Antarctica Environment

What is it like in Antarctica?- 1
What is it like in Antarctica? - 2
Fascinating Facts about Antarctica
Antarctica Lite
Antarctic Climate and Weather

Climate data and graphs

Icebergs1  |  Icebergs 2  |  Sea-ice formation
Mountains  |  Mountains2  |  Diving 1  |  Diving 2

Antarctica Politics

Antarctica Science

Antarctica History

Exploration time line

Roald Amundsen
Douglas Mawson
Robert Falcon Scott, Discovery expedition
Robert Falcon Scott, the South Pole
Sir Ernest Shackleton, Nimrod Expedition
Sir Ernest Shackleton, Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) expedition
Antarctica geological timeline

Ships of the explorers

L'Astrolabe  | 
Aurora  |  Belgica  |  Discovery  |  Endurance
Erebus and Terror  | 
Fram   page 2  |  Nimrod  |  Terra Nova

Antarctica Animal Life


Adelie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae
Chinstrap penguin Pygoscelis antarctica
Gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua
Emperor penguins Aptenodytes forsteri
King penguins Aptenodytes patagonica


Weddell seals  Leptonychotes weddelli
Southern Fur seal  Arctocephalus gazella
Southern Elephant seal  Mirounga leonina
Crabeater seal
 Lobodon carcinophagus
Leopard Seal  Hydruga leptonyx

Marine Life

Whale species - species and lifestyle
Whaling -1  - historical perspective
Whaling -2 - why were whales caught?
Whaling in the 21st century
Whaling pictures
Whales and food webs
Krill -
Euphausia superba

Other birds

Snow petrel   Pagrodama nivea
Blue eyed shag   Phalacrocopax atriceps
Giant petrel   Macronectes giganteus
Wandering albatross   Diomedea axulans
Antarctic skua   Catharacta maccormicki
Cape pigeon   Sheathbill
Antarctic tern   Sterna vittata



Icebreakers and ice-strengthened ships
James Clark Ross - ice strengthened ship
Kapitan Khlebnikov - icebreaker
Yamal - nuclear powered icebreaker
Ships then and now, a comparison
Transport at McMurdo Base

Thermal, insulated underwear

Extreme Cold Weather Clothing

Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
Buy from Amazon USA USA  |  Buy from Amazon UK UK
Free world delivery

Frozen Planet
Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition
Dramatization with original footage

Buy from Amazon USA DVD  |  Buy from Amazon UK DVD

Cool Antarctica Store - Pictures, Shirts, Calendars, Cards etc.

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