Antarctica, the fifth largest continent, contains no individual countries or groups of people. However, there are seven countries that claim parts of the continent, and there are many other countries that send groups of scientists and workers each year.Continue Reading
The continent of Antarctica is located in and comprises 20 percent of the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere. It sits in what is known as the Antarctic Convergence, which is where the cold, north-bound Antarctic waters meet the warmer ocean waters.
Antarctica contains no countries or permanent residents. However, nearly 4,000 people visit the continent each year, some of whom are considered semi-permanent residents because as part of scientific communities they remain for extended periods of time. There are also research stations located across the continent that are run by many different countries. The continent is protected from activities such as mineral mining, military activities and nuclear waste disposal and testing through the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. The Treaty has been signed by a number of nations which support the scientific exploration and study on Antarctica.
National Geographic suggests that Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom presently claim parts of the continent. Additionally, Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom claim the island territories within the Convergence that surround Antarctica.Learn more about Antarctica
Some interesting facts about Antarctica include the extreme weather, the large size of the landmass and the massive sheet of ice covering the ground. Antarctica also contains most of the world's fresh water and a buried mountain range.Full Answer >
Protection of Antarctica, its surrounding oceans and its biodiversity requires concerted efforts to minimize human impact on a global level. Efforts include minimizing the number of tourists, closely regulating commercial activities in the region, addressing the issue of worldwide climate change and establishing internationally recognized sanctuaries, standards and systems of oversight.Full Answer >
The first explorer to gather evidence of Antarctica's existence was Captain James Cook between 1772 and 1775. It was not until subsequent expeditions (1819-1820) by William Smith and James Bransfield that the shore was sighted. It was another year before the American Captain John Davis actually landed on the continent.Full Answer >
One fact about Antarctica is that it is a continent permanently covered with ice and snow at the South Pole. It is considered a desert, and is also the driest, coldest and windiest place on the planet.Full Answer >