Why in the world would one want to discuss Antarctica? Short answer: It is fun to discuss polar regions with your children in the wintertime. We live in the southeastern US, and snow is a rarity at our home. My kiddos love to learn about cold environments, since they do not experience it firsthand.
Fun Facts About Antarctica
That being said, today I would like to share some fun facts about Antarctica with you!
- Antarctica was first sighted in 1820, but the first actual landing happened about a year later. American John Davis was the first person to step onto the ice, and the first team to reach the South Pole was led by Norwegian Roald Amundsen.
- Up to 90% of the earth’s ice is found in the Antarctic ice cap. There are sub-glacial lakes below the ice surface. Lake Vostok is the largest sub-glacial freshwater lake…it is 1,300 feet below the ice!
- Antarctica is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System and is not a sovereign country.
- Antarctica is preserved to be a place of scientific study. Around 30 countries have research stations on Antarctica.
- About 4,400 people live in Antarctica in the summer months, and about 1,000 live there in the winter. They live in Antarctica to work in research stations.
- Mount Vinson is the highest mountain on the continent of Antarctica. It is 16,050 feet tall.
- The first successful ascent of Mount Vinson was in 1966, and it can take anywhere from two to four weeks to summit.
- The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was recorded in Antarctica in July of 1983. What was this temperature? -128.6 degrees F!
- Emperor penguins are the largest flightless birds in the world, and they live in Antarctica! They can grow to nearly four feet tall.
- There is a permanent church on Antarctica! Trinity church resides on the largest of the South Shetland Islands. Following it’s construction elsewhere, it was taken apart and shipped to it’s location. It is a small Russian Orthodox church and it holds about 30 worshippers.
I hope that your children will enjoy learning a few new things about Antarctica!
Which fun fact about Antarctica was your children’s favorite?