Known as the fifth largest continent in the world, Antarctica is the windiest, coldest and driest continent with approximately 1,000 to 5,000 semi-permanent residents. Only 2 per cent of the place is not covered by ice. Most of the plant and animal species that live in the continent like seals and penguins can survive in place with cold weather. In order to preserve the ecozone in Antarctica, 46 countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, which prohibits mineral mining and military activities in the continent. To know about the geography of the place, let us look at the actual size of Antarctica.
The Size of Antarctica
What is the size of Antarctica? The overall area covered by the continent is 14,000,000 square kilometer. The total area covered by ice is 13,720,000 square kilometer while the ice-free area is 280,000 square kilometer. The average thickness of ice that covers most of the areas in the continent is 1.6 kilometers. The coastline in the region measures 17,968 kilometers. The highest point is the Vinson Massif with a height of 4,897 meters while the lowest point is the Bentley Subglacial Trench, which has a depth of 2,555 meters.
Mountains divide the place into two, namely the Eastern Antarctica and the Western Antarctica. The Western Antarctica is controversial since the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet covers the place. If the ice sheet collapses, the water level of oceans will increase by several meters.
The longest river in the place is the Onyx River, which has a length of 25 kilometers. The largest inland body of water in Antarctica is the Lake Vostok. The estimated area occupied by the lake is 26,000 square kilometer. People can find four active volcanoes in the continent, namely the Mount Berlin, Mount Melbourne, Mount Hampton and the Mount Kauffman.
Additional Facts and Other Interesting Details
Some of the natural resources that are present in Antarctica are fin fish, krill and crabs. Aside from these, other marine species that live in the continent are fur seals, blue whales, colossal squids and orcas.
When it comes to governance, no country has control over the resources and territory of the continent. However, some countries participate in a potential division of the territory of Antarctica. These are the Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Russia, Spain and the United States. To know more about the resources in the place, there are various research stations in Antarctica including the Almirante Brown Antarctic Base, the Asuka Station and the Byrd Station.