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Antarctica is situated in the southern most part of the earth in the South Pole. It is located at the Antarctic region of South Hemisphere and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is the fifth largest continent in the world. It is twice as much the size of Australia. Almost 98% of the entire continent is engulfed with ice. It is the driest, coldest and the windiest continent in the world and also has a very high level of elevation as compared to other continents. It is considered to be a desert with an annual precipitation rate of hardly 200 mm. The temperature in Antarctica has crossed ?89 °C. This continent has no permanent humans residing but however, there are 1000 to 5000 people who stay here at various research stations in this region. Some of the organisms that can be found here are bacteria, algae, fungi, prostista and so on. Antarctica is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System. Almost twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in the year 1959 and 38 countries have signed it after that. According to this treaty, military activities and mineral mining are prohibited in Antarctica. Also, nuclear waste disposal and nuclear explosions are prohibited. There are continuous experiments being conducted by more than 4000 scientists across the nation.
There are no native human beings in this continent and neither was there any evidence till the 19th century. However, it was later believed that there was some existence of Terra Australis, which was a large continent in the southern part of the globe for balancing the lands of Europe, Asia and North Africa. Later the explorers found out that South America and Australia were not a part of Antarctica. In fact, researchers believe that this continent was much larger in size than it is today.
The continent of Antarctica is positioned asymmetrically around the area of the South Pole. It has more than 14,000,000 km area and is almost 1.3 times larger than Europe. The coastline of Antarctica measures a total of 17,968 km that has ice formations majorly.
Almost 98% of this continent is covered by a sheet of ice that is almost 1.6 km thick. Antarctica has 90% of the world?s ice and also 70% of the world?s fresh water. If the entire ice in this area melts, the sea levels will rise almost 60 m. The precipitation is very low in the interior parts of this area. There are also blue ice areas that can be found here.
The sea life in Antarctica includes blue whales, penguins, orcas, fur seals and colossal squids. The only penguin that breeds during the winter is the Emperor Penguin, whereas the Adelie Penguine breeds in the southern parts. The rock-hopper penguin has unique characteristics with beautiful eyelashes. The most heavily hunted animal was the fur seal. It was hunted for its pelt by sealers from America and the United Kingdom.
Vegetation is not possible in Antarctica because of its climate. Also, it has a poor soil quality and lack of sunlight makes it even more difficult to grow vegetation.