· Antarctica is the coldest continent. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -89.6 degrees (at Vostock Station)
· Antarctica is the windiest continent. Gusts of wind of more than 300 km/hr have been recorded.
· Antarctica is the driest continent. There is so little rain that it counts as a desert. In some parts it hasn’t rained for thousands of years.
· Antarctica is the fifth largest continent and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean
· It is the only continent without a time zone.
· There are no indigenous people in Antarctica.
· Nobody owns Antarctica – under the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, it is a natural resource devoted to peace and science
· It is the southernmost continent and contains the South Pole.
· There are actually four different South Poles: the Geographic South Pole, the Magnetic South Pole, the Geomagnetic South Pole and the South Pole of Inaccessibility
· Snow and ice cover approx. 98% of Antarctica.
· The average thickness of snow and ice is approx. 2,200 metres.
· Glaciers in Antarctica are like ice-rivers that move slowly down the mountains towards the sea. Snow that falls at the South Pole will flow over hundreds of thousands of years to the coast and eventually drop off as part of an iceberg.
· Thousands of meteorites have been collected in Antarctica because the ice flow collects them in certain places and they show up against the white snow.
· Mount Erebus in Antarctica is the southernmost active volcano.
· The conditions in the Dry Valleys are so similar to those on Mars that they have been used for tests by NASA scientists.
· Antarctica contains 90% of the world's ice.
· Antarctica's ice cap contains approx. 70% of the world's fresh water. If all the ice melted, it would raise the level of the world’s oceans by 60-65 metres.
· The only vegetation that grows there is moss, lichen and algae, and there are only two flowering plants: the Antarctic spearwort and Antarctic hair grass.
· The largest land animal is an insect (a tiny wingless midge) and there are no flying insects (they would get blown away).
· Male Emperor penguins are the only warm-blooded animal to stay on the continent all winter.
· Early explorers brought dogs and ponies, but since 1994 no non-native species have been allowed in Antarctica.
· There are no polar bears in Antarctica! (They live in the Arctic.)
And lastly -
Antarctica is the only continent where there are no ants!