5 Facts About Antarctica You Probably Didn’t Know by Petra P.
Antarctica: the one continent that scientists are still puzzling so much over. The one continent that never ceases to amaze. But what’s so special about it? What makes it so different, so unique?
Antarctica, contrary to its icy conditions, is a desert. In the Dry Valleys, an area in Antarctica, it hasn’t rained for nearly 2 million years! Astonishingly, it rarely snows, and when it does, instead of melting the snow builds up over the years. This creates thick sheets of ice, which cover part of Antarctica. Who knew that one of the coldest places in the world was also a desert!
In Antarctica, there are beautiful sheets of snow covering the ground with ice coating parts of the frigid waters; could you imagine a part of it red? Well, Antarctica has a subglacial lake that has blood-red water. They call it ‘Blood Falls’ for a reason. The waters, rich with iron, come into contact with the air and begin to rust. This creates blood-red stains on the ice as it falls, giving it its disturbing color.
Meet Mount Erebus; one of Antarctica’s volcanoes. 12,448 feet above sea level and formed about 1.3 million years ago, it’s still active! Its last eruption in 2020, the volcano is known for its size and deadliness.
This is what the Mawson Station in Antarctica looks like. It is one of the three permanent bases and research outposts of the Australian Antarctic Division. It houses from 18-120 people depending on the season. These stations provide housing for those researching the Antarctic, and all the research done has led to many discoveries already.
Australia is not the only one with stations in Antarctica. There are over 50 stations established in Antarctica, controlled by less than 20 countries. You could call this the famous “Space Race” all over again: each country with one or more stations in Antarctica is striving to be the first to make history with a new discovery.
There are no villages or cities in Antarctica; 98% of the continent is covered in ice. Most of the temporary habitable zones are used by stations to conduct research on the continent.
Just like there's still much to be discovered about Antarctica, there’s a lot to learn about the world around you, and there are many spectacular places to explore!