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17 Cool Fun Facts About Antarctica You Might Not Know

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For most people, Antarctica is all about penguins, glaciers, and miles upon miles of snow. While this is true of Antarctica, that’s not the full story. The fifth-largest continent is a trove of natural attractions and interesting facts.

What do you know about Antarctica?

1. It Has 70% of the World’s Fresh Water

Water and Ice in the Antarctica
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More than 70% per cent of the earth is water, and about 70% of the earth’s freshwater is found in Antarctica. If it doesn’t seem like it, that’s because most of the water in Antarctica is primarily ice.

2. Desert Status

Coast of Antarctica
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Although it’s majorly comprised of ice, Antarctica is identified as the world’s largest desert. It receives very little rain, with an average annual precipitation of about 2 inches (50 mm), and mostly snow. The Antarctica air is very dry.

3. Thick Ice

Image showing thick ICE at Antarctica
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So, we know that there’s ice in Antarctica, but exactly how much ice is there? The ice sheet covering Antarctica sometimes gets as thick as 3 kilometers thick.  

4. No Native Population

Almirante Brown Research Station in Paradise Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula in Antarctica
Photo Credit: Steve_Allen at

Antarctica has no permanent residents or native population. The people who live and work there are scientists and support staff from various countries, and they stay for temporary periods.

5. No Time Zone

Boy Watching at Hour Glass
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Antarctica has no official time zone. Instead, research stations often use the time zone of the country that operates the station. This can result in some unusual timekeeping, especially around the South Pole.

6. Unique Wildlife

cute penguins holding hands
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Despite its harsh conditions, Antarctica is home to various species of wildlife, including penguins, seals, and krill. The Weddell Seal is known for its ability to survive in extreme cold.

7. First Woman in Antarctica

Tourists arriving to the South Pole, Antarctica
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In 1969, Liv Arnesen from Norway became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. She was part of an expedition led by the British Antarctic Survey.

8. Dry Valleys

Coastline of Antarctica with ice formations
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Antarctica has a region known as the Dry Valleys, where extremely low humidity prevents snow or ice accumulation. Some parts of these valleys haven’t seen rain for nearly two million years. The environment in the dry valleys is considered to be the closest to the environment on Mars.

9. Southern Lights

aurora australis, Antarctica
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Like the Northern Lights, Antarctica experiences its own version of the aurora borealis, known as the aurora australis or the Southern Lights. These colorful displays are caused by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with the Earth’s magnetic field.

10. Penguin Capital

A group of Adélie penguins on the Iceberg, Antarctica
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Perhaps the most well-known fun fact is that Antarctica is home to several species of penguins, including Adélie. The Adélie penguin is one of the most common and can be found all around the continent.

11. Ice Marathon

A man running in an ice marathon
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Fancy running in sub-zero temperatures over ice with penguins cheering you on? Sign up for the Antarctic Ice Marathon. This is an annual event held near the Ellsworth Mountains. It is the southernmost marathon on Earth and is run on snow and ice.

12. Record Cold

An Iceberg in Antarctica, Very Cold Weather
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Just how cold can the Earth get? The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was at Antarctica’s high ridge. On July 21, 1983, the Soviet Union’s Vostok Station recorded temperatures as low as -128.6°F (-89.2°C).

13. Underground Lake

Panoramic view of a Lake in Antarctica
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Lake Vostok, buried beneath the ice sheet, is one of the largest subglacial lakes in Antarctica.

14. Jamaica-sized Iceberg

An Iceberg in Antarctica
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How big can an iceberg be? According to, in 2000, one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, B-15, broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. It was roughly the size of Jamaica (over 10,000 square kilometers).

15. It’s Preserved for a Scientific Research

Almirante Brown Research Station, Antarctica
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You cannot carry out military activity, mineral mining, and nuclear testing in Antarctica. It’s designated as a scientific preserve and promotes international cooperation in scientific research.

16. Antarctica Birthdays

A beautiful View of Antarctica
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Since no one lives permanently on the continent, giving birth there is very uncommon. Yet, at least 11 people were been born in Antarctica.

17. 0 Percent Mortality Rate

Ice, Ice and Ice Everywhere in Antarctica, Two People standing on ICE
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Since all of the children born in Antarctica survived, Antarctica is considered the continent with the lowest mortality rate.


33 Interesting Facts about Penguins You Might Not Know

Emperor Penguin chicks in Antarctica
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Penguins evolved over 60 million years ago from birds who flew through the air into birds who swam through the water. While giant penguins no longer roam the Earth, as they did up until 25 million years ago, penguins continue to hold a prime spot in our love of nature.

33 Interesting Facts about Penguins You Might Not Know

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Girl Showing map to Boy
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There’s a lot more to North America than just holiday brochures and popular culture, though. As a region, it boasts several impressive geographic features and anomalies. Because of its size, it has incredibly diverse bioculture, people, and even natural phenomena worth exploring.

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57 Psychological Facts About Humans That Might Shock You

High Five of Male and Female
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Psychology says that humans are always curious about knowing their minds better. So it’s no surprise that you’re here right now. While there are many things left to uncover and decipher – let’s start with what we do know. 

57 Psychological Facts About Humans That Might Shock You


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