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Antarctica is Earths fifth-largest continent, containing the geographic South Pole. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages at least 1 mile (1.6 km) in thickness.


Lying in the Antarctic Circle that rings the southern part of the globe, Antarctica is the fifth largest continent. Its size varies through the seasons, as expanding sea ice along the coast nearly doubles its size in the winter. Most of Antarctica is covered with ice; less than half a percent of the vast wilderness is ice free.

Antarctica Facts

*)The area of Antarctica is approximately 5.4 million square miles (14 million square kilometers). The United States is 3.6 million square miles (9.36 million square kilometers).

*)At least two active volcanoes exist in Antarctica. The highest, Mount Erebus (12,448 feet; 3,794 meters) boasts a permanent lake. The other lies on Deception Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula. Although eruptions in 1967 and 1969 damaged science stations there, the island remains a popular stop-off for tourists, who can bathe in the water warmed by the volcano while surrounded by ice.

*)Melting Antarctica's ice sheets would raise oceans around the world by 200 to 210 feet (60 to 65 meters).

*)In 2000, the largest recorded icebergs broke free from the Ross Ice Shelf, a region the size of Texas. With a surface area of 4,250 square miles (11,000 square kilometers) above water and ten times the size beneath, the iceberg was approximately as large as the state of Connecticut.

This page was last modified on 20 November 2020 at 05:56.

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