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Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world, home to the South Pole and one of the most mysterious places on the planet.  As of even a century ago, the journey to the southernmost continent was so forbidding that only the most brave or foolhardy explorers dared the trek.  Temperatures are below zero for most of the year, and the wind chill factor in most areas makes it feel twenty degrees colder.

Due to these conditions, Antarctica is home to some of the most spectacular natural sights on the face of the earth.  Ice bridges, the southernmost active volcano, wildlife unlike anywhere else on the planet.  This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  While the untrained eye might see a desolate wilderness, there is a richness and vitality beneath the surface that will amaze you.  This is just one of the hidden wonders you’ll be able to experience on a trip to Antarctica.

Here are just a few amazing facts about the most remote continent of earth:

  1. Antarctica is covered by an ice sheet that, in some places, is up to four miles thick. This continent contains 90% of the freshwater ice on the planet. Just to put things in perspective, that amounts to about 70% of the fresh water on the planet.
  2. Antarctica travel can show you the only known lava lakes on the planet. Mount Erebus is the southernmost volcano on earth. It contains lava lakes that hold liquid magma.  Even despite the frigid conditions on the continent, these lakes have been filled with liquid magma for eons.
  3. Believe it or not, the driest place on earth can be found in Antarctica. Aptly named, the Dry Valleys have such low humidity and moisture that ice and snow cannot accumulate. As a result, these valleys are left as nothing more than a dry expanse of dirt.
  4. Antarctica is home to the largest ice shelf ever discovered. This is the Ross Ice Shelf, a mass of floating ice that covered more than half a million square kilometres. A “small” chunk of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off in 2000.  This miniscule fragment was 40km wide and 270km long, about as large as the state of Connecticut.
  5. Antarctica houses some of the most interesting lakes on the planet. Deep Lake is a saltwater lake so salty that it will not freeze, even in the winter months of Antarctica where ambient temperatures can reach as lower as 15 below zero. Lake Vlostok is another fascinating lake, and one you won’t see on any Antarctica tours.  This is because it is buried beneath 4km of ice.  Lake Vlostok is roughly the size of Lake Ontario and is just one of more than 200 bodies of freshwater buried beneath the ice sheet.

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Destinations News Antarctica