Antarctica

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Antarctica landscape

The continent of Antarctica is the southernmost continent, which contains the South Pole. It is located in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere. It is the fifth largest continent, and makes up most of the Antarctic region. [1] The continent of Antarctica covers approximately 20 percent of the Southern Hemisphere. The Antarctic includes island territories within the Antarctic Convergence. Antarctica is unique because it does not have a native population.


Geography

Global view of Antarctica

The continent of Antarctica makes up the Antarctic region. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, harshest continent, and with little precipitation is the driest place on earth. [2] Antarctica is the southernmost continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The oceans surrounding Antarctica provide an important physical component of the Antarctic region. The Antarctic Ice Sheet dominates the region, it is the largest single piece of ice on Earth. [1] The ice sheet even extends beyond the continent when snow and ice are at their most extreme. The ice surface dramatically grows in size from about 3 million square kilometers at the end of summer to about 19 million square kilometers by winter. [1] Beneath its thick ice sheets, Antarctica is a dynamic and diverse continent with mountains, volcanoes, deserts, meteorites, dinosaur fossils, and some of the Earth’s most ancient crust.



Climate

Antarctica has an extremely cold and dry climate, and experiences extreme winds. Winter temperatures along Antarctica’s coast generally range from -10° Celsius to -30° Celsius (14° Fahrenheit to -22° Fahrenheit). During the summer, coastal areas hover around 0°C (32°F) but can reach temperatures as high as 9°C (48°F). [1] Snowfall is the most common form of participation in Antarctica, it is hard to measure the amount of participation that falls because it is always in the form of snow. However, the Antarctic desert is one of the driest deserts in the world. The Antarctic region plays an important role in global climate processes. It is a crucial part of the Earth's heat balance. [1] The heat balance, also called the energy balance, is the relationship between the amount of solar heat absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere and the amount of heat reflected back into space.


Biodiversity

Penguins in Antarctica

The most common and familiar animal of Antarctica is the penguin. Penguins have adapted to the cold waters, while also using their wings to serve as flippers as they fly through the water in search of prey such as squid and fish [1] Their feathers allow them to keep warm in the freezing water. Antarctica is also home of the leopard seal, one of the top predators. The leopard seal is known as one of the most aggressive marine predators. Measuring at around 9-foot and 882-pound [1] , the leopard seal has unusually long, sharp teeth, which they attack their prey with. Although there is little vegetation life in Antarctica there are a few species that grow including; lichens, mosses, and terrestrial algae. The ocean however, includes fish and other marine life. The waters surrounding Antarctica are actually the most diverse on the planet [1] Thousands of species flourish, while a large variety of fish and marine mammals thrive in the cold waters. Blue, fin, humpback, right, minke, sei, and sperm whales all have healthy populations [1]

Population

Although Antarctica does not have any permanent residents, several governments maintain permanent research stations on the continent. This gives Antarctica a unique cultural setting that is diverse, such as it's research stations. The amount of individuals conducting research and other work on the continent varies from the winter months and summer months. McMurdo Station is a United States research center and is the largest station in Antarctica, supporting about 1,250 residents [1]

See also

Other closely related articles in this wiki include:

References

[3]
[4]
[5]


External links

Relevant online sources to this wiki article include:

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Antarctica - National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/antarctica/
  2. Antarctica. (n.d.). Retrieved March 31, 2016, from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/51cbecf07896bb431f68e995/
  3. Whaley, J., 2017, Oil in the Heart of South America, https://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2017/10/oil-in-the-heart-of-south-america], accessed November 15, 2021.
  4. Wiens, F., 1995, Phanerozoic Tectonics and Sedimentation of The Chaco Basin, Paraguay. Its Hydrocarbon Potential: Geoconsultores, 2-27, accessed November 15, 2021; https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281348744_Phanerozoic_tectonics_and_sedimentation_in_the_Chaco_Basin_of_Paraguay_with_comments_on_hydrocarbon_potential
  5. Alfredo, Carlos, and Clebsch Kuhn. “The Geological Evolution of the Paraguayan Chaco.” TTU DSpace Home. Texas Tech University, August 1, 1991. https://ttu-ir.tdl.org/handle/2346/9214?show=full.