The mysterious mass of land ~ Antarctica! Surprisingly, it is the fifth-largest continent in the world. There are amazingly unique facts about this frozen province of peace & peculiarity that many people do not know. Located on the southernmost tip of the planet, this massive mass of land stretches around 14 million square kilometers. Antarctica is one of those continents where the temperature is almost below zero degrees throughout the year. The obvious reason for this is its location ~ it is entirely located within the Antarctic Circle.
The unusually frosty temperature makes Antarctica one of the most sparsely populated regions around the world. But, the serendipity of the animals adapting to this part of the planet is just an incredible gift of nature. They can very effortlessly survive the harshness of this frigid weather condition. While this peculiar part of the planet seems bleak & bare to the most unlearned explorers, there is a rich profusion of abundance & amazement to discover in Antarctica.
Without squandering your time let’s read about these Unique Facts About Antarctica while you are Quarantined. Here we go:
Think of the driest place on the planet, and the answer shall be the Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Did you know this interesting fact? The reason is obvious! With moisture & humidity surrounding all through, there is no room for ice & snow to accumulate. Because of this, the valley is all but a whole expanse of dusty dirt.
For a long time, America’s Grand Canyon has been considered the longest natural rift on the planet. But, researchers found during the 2010 expedition, there is another trench in Antarctica, which is mightier. With depth above 16 km, length 100 km & width about 9 km, the Antarctica rift is another addition to the amazement. In fact, it is still under the radar of exploration, and it could have even bigger boundaries.
If you want to see the largest ice shelf, you must visit Antarctica. The Ross Ice Shelf off the mainland of Antarctica, with length more than 510,000 km, is one-of-its-kind discovered to date.
Look for the windiest place on the planet ~ and Antarctica is the answer. Most explorers & discoverers have reported the speed of the air reaching up to even 200 miles per hour (ca. 322 km/h).
Antarctica is home to two active volcanoes ~ Mount Erebus & Deception Island. Mount Erebus is located on Ross Island. The peculiarities of this volcano include “the twisted ice statues formed with gases seeping from its crater’s vent” and ice fumaroles. Deception Island, on the other hand, is located in the South Shetland and is a volcanic caldera. Initially, it used to be a flourishing whaling station, which was then abandoned in 1969 after an eruption took place.
You’ll be amazed to know that around 90% of the freshwater ice and about 70% of the freshwater on the planet is part of Antarctica. The Ice Sheet of Antarctica is the world’s biggest mass of ice. It sometimes goes as thick as four-miles.
Wherever you turn, it’s north around. Given that, it is the southernmost part of the planet Earth, whatever direction your turn, it’s north. However, the mention of the Antarctic Peninsula located in the West Antarctic is based on the calculations of the prime meridian.
The blood-red flow of the sub-glacial lake is nothing but another unique part of this planet. It was in 1911 that this peculiar phenomenon occurring in the continent was observed. There was this strange thing happening in East Antarctica on the Taylor Glacier. It was found that the water flowing from deep down the glacier was stained blood-red. In 2002, scientists discovered the reason that led to this phenomenon happening around the water that was coming from a subglacial lake. This water has a high salt content & also oxidized iron. When the rusted iron comes in contact with oxygen in the air, the color of water changes to blood-red.
Researchers claim that ~ if there comes a time when Antarctica's Ice sheet starts melting, there would be a global rise of the sea level by around 16 feet (ca. 5 m).
The diamond dust floating around is still a mystery for scientists. Even when there is this low precipitation level in Antarctica, what causes this diamond dust floating around in the air is not known ~ yet, it’s really wonderful to look at. It is the tiny ice crystals that constitute the diamond dust and it will appear like an icy fog. When the sunlight gets over to these crystals, an amazing sparkling effect is created. This makes it look like some diamond droplets are floating around.
At one time in the past, Antarctica was as warm as Melbourne. While looking at the current scenario and how Antarctica's temperature looks (-89.2 °C), it is absolutely impossible for us to believe that it could have been this warm someday. Scientists have established from the Fossil found that around 40-50 million years ago, the temperature in Antarctica rose to about 17 °C and it was all covered with verdant green forests.
You’ll be amazed to know that one of the most rapidly warming areas of the planet Earth is the Antarctic Peninsula. More than any other parts of the world, the Antarctic Peninsula is warming up most rapidly. This can be validated with the data ~ as the temperature here has increased to about 3 °C, in the last 50 years, which is five times higher than the average increase in temperature in other parts of the planet.