16 March, 2011

Antarctica....A Continent of Extremes

Beautiful view of Antarctica
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Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and highest continent in the world. It lies at the bottom of the world, surrounding the South Pole. The name Antarctica means ‘opposite to the Arctic’. This is because it is situated  at the opposite side of the Arctic Ocean.
The coldest temperature recorded in Antarctica is also the world’s lowest temperature, at -89.2C. A sheet of ice covers the entire continent through out the year. At its thickest point, it reaches up to 5 kilometers thick.This strange continent contains most of the world’s ice and much of the world’s fresh water. Toward the edges of the continent, the ice becomes glaciers. Some people consider glaciers as huge mountains of ice and snow but in fact they are creeping rivers of ice.
Beautiful Antarctica Wallpaper
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            Strange and wonderful continent of Antarctica has only one day in entire year. The Sun generally rises on 21 September and sets on 22 March. This one long day is the summer. From 22 March until 21 September, the South Pole is dark and Antarctica has its night, or winter.

Research Vassel stuck in the ice sheet of Antarctica
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            People do not live permanently in this continent. Only scientists and some adventurers visit Antarctica. There are, however, 45 species of birds found here, including the emperor penguin and the Adelie penguin, that live near the seacoast. Approximately four species of seals also breed in Antarctica.

Large colony of penguins in Antarctica
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            Whales live in the water around this frozen continent.. Most common species of whale found in the waters around it are the killer whale, the sperm whale, the rare bottle-nosed whale, the pygmy whale, and seven species of baleen whales. Thay can all be found off the coast of Antarctica.
            Oddly, there are active volcanoes in Antarctica. That means you can find not just the world’s coldest temperatures here but, deep down, some of the hottest too.
You might also be amazed to know that Antarctica is a desert – a ‘frigid desert’. It’s extremely cold, unlike the more common hot sandy desert. But like them, it gets so little moisture during the year that very little life can survive.
Thick and heavy sheet of ice in Antarctica
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Explorers travelling through Antarctica
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