Monday, January 26, 2009


The name Antarctica comes from the word 'Arktikos' meaning 'Ursa Minoris' or 'Little Bear', the northern hemisphere constellation, whereas 'Antarctica's' means 'Ursa Major' or 'Great Bear', the southern hemisphere constellation where the Antarctica is located.

The Antarctic continent has an area of 14.107.000 square km (about 5.5 million square miles) with the barriers of ice. It surrounds the South Pole. The Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Ross Sea, and the Weddell Sea ring the continent.

It lies 60° south latitude, and encompasses the Antarctic Ocean, archipelagos, islands and the continent, which is somewhat circular in shape and has 4,500 kilometres in diameter, and two sharp inlets that form a narrow S-shaped peninsula, toward the austral part of the South American continent.

Virtually divided into two portions -known as West and East- Antarctica has impressive mountain chains. Mount Wilson - 4.900 metres high (16,000 ft.), in the Ellsworth chain - and the volcano Erebus that has an elevation of more than 3.700 metres (12,440 ft.), located near the Ross Sea, are the most important.

It is the world's highest continent, with an average elevation of 2,000 metres (6,500 ft.) above sea level. The average thickness of the ice that covers the continent is 2.500 metres (8,200 ft.) - the record was 4,800 metres (15,740 ft.)-, which is equal to some 5 kilometres of ice on some of the rocky formations of the Antarctica.

Sometimes these masses of ice break off, forming icebergs that slide outward to the sea. But as ice does not break off easily, ice barriers form on the coasts, making access difficult.

Due to the forming of icebergs, navigation in this area in extremely dangerous. It's important to mention that the Antarctic is a continent, that is to say, there is a bedrock beneath it (unlike the Arctic that is only ice).

The continuous falling of snow thickens the layers of ice of more than 2000 metres (6,500 ft.) and causes the accumulation of snow on the coasts, provoking the ice to break off. Due to its weight, the bedrock begins to bend out of shape.
Information from:

Gentoo Penguins. Asstonishing divers which can reach dephts of 100 metres. They generally live in small colonies, and are renowned for being docile and fairly timid. Found throughout the Antartic Peninsula and the sub-Antartic islands

1 comment:

  1. aahhhh, i love it! the name Antarctica itself makes my heart beat faster! this part of the world is just so magnificent!