Antarctica

Article

May 17, 2022

Antarctica is the continent around the south pole of the Earth. The name Antarctica comes from ant-arktikos (ἀνταρκτικός), a Greek word meaning "facing north". With an area of ​​14 million square kilometers, it is the fifth largest continent after Eurasia, Africa, North America and South America, and before Australia. Antarctica is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean (according to the old ocean division). All sea areas around Antarctica, south of the 60th parallel, are referred to as the Southern Ocean (or Antarctic Ocean). The land and water around Antarctica are collectively referred to by the term Antarctis. On a map, Antarctica is usually shown with the prime meridian at the top. Antarctica is almost completely covered by an ice sheet and the continent is the coldest area on Earth. The lowest temperature ever recorded in a weather station was at the Vostok station 1000 kilometers from the South Pole: −89.2 °C (unofficially −91 °C). According to NASA measurements, a temperature of −93.2°C was observed on a plateau near central Antarctica on August 10, 2010. Whether this cold record will be recognized by the World Meteorological Organization is unknown. Antarctica is the continent with the lowest average humidity. 90% of all the ice in the world is in Antarctica. The average thickness of the ice sheet is 2200 meters and at its thickest point the ice is even 4776 meters thick.

Etymology

The name Antarctica is the Romanized form of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική (antarktiké), the feminine form of ἀνταρκτικός (antarktikós), meaning "facing the Arctic" or "facing the north." Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorologica about an Antarctic region in ca. 350 BC. Marinus of Tire reportedly used the name on his 2nd century AD world map. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius (1st-2nd century AD) used for the South Pole the Romanized Greek name polus antarcticus, from which the Old French pole antartike (pôle antarctique) was explained in 1270, and from there the Middle English pol antartik (Antarctic Pole) in a technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer from 1391. Before the term acquired its current geographical meaning, it was used for other places that could be described as "facing north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the sixteenth century was called "France Antarctique". The first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name is attributed to Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew in the 1890s.

Geography

Antarctica is defined in this article as: the Antarctic mainland, sometimes distinguished into East Antarctica and West Antarctica (including the Antarctic Peninsula); the islands on the Antarctic continental shelf; islands not located on the Antarctic continental shelf but usually considered to belong to Antarctica: Southern Orkney Islands South Shetland Islands South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands Bouvet Island Heard and McDonald Islands

South Pole traverse

The South Pole Traverse, also called McMurdo – South Pole Highway, is a flag-marked road from McMurdo Station to the South Pole.

History

Although there were suspicions about a southern continent much earlier, Antarctica was not "discovered" until 1820. Between 1897 and 1899 it was wintered for the first time in Antarctica during a Belgian expedition led by Adrien de Gerlache with the Belgica. On December 14, 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole. Also in 1911/1912, a British expedition led by Robert Scott attempted to reach the South Pole. They did reach the South Pole in 1912, but the participants in this expedition were killed on the return journey. In 194