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Antarctica in the spotlight

As the famous home of the South Pole, Antarctica is the windiest, coldest and driest continent on Earth. Incredibly, about 98% of it is covered with super thick ice (at about 1.9km in depth). Here are some more fascinating facts about this icy wilderness.

1. A desert?

Antarctica includes 90% of the Earth’s ice, yet due to the low level of rain, it is considered a desert.

2. No bugs

There are no flying insects and no ants in the whole of Antarctica.

3. Penguins and polar bears aren't friends

You might see pictures of penguins and polar bears together in an icy tundra setting but in reality they would never meet. Polar bears only live around the Arctic at the North Pole while penguins do not and many live at the opposite end of the world at the South Pole

4. Discovered

Man first set foot on the continent of Antarctica in 1895.

5. No indigenous population

Antarctica may be the fifth largest continent in the world but no permanent residents live here. Several countries have research stations, so there are up to 5,000 temporary scientific research staff in the summer and about 1,000 people in the winter months.

6. Tourism boom

Antarctica has become a popular tourist destination with over 35,000 people already going to this icy and remote destination.

7. Antarctic Treaty

Antarctica is open to scientific investigation and research but no military activity, nuclear waste disposal or mining is allowed on the continent. The Antarctica Treaty was originally signed by 12 nations across the world in 1959 and now 49 countries have signed it in total.

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