Is there life in Antarctica

1. Really thick ice

One of the most fascinating facts about Antarctica is that it is a land mass. The explorers who drove to the North Pole always moved on sometimes thin, sometimes thick ice - but the explorers of the South Pole had a firmer ground. In parts of the Antarctic, however, the land itself is at great depth - covered by ice that can be several kilometers thick.

2. Wealth of resources

The largest freshwater reserves on earth are in the ice of the Antarctic. Around 70 percent of the drinking water available on earth is located on the ice-covered continent. This is one of the many reasons the ice cap is such a valuable resource - when the ice melts, it mixes with the surrounding seawater. Desalination - the process of extracting fresh water from salt water - is so difficult that it can hardly be carried out on a large scale. It is therefore of the utmost importance to keep the fresh water segregated and safe.

3. Hidden lakes

There is a secret lake in Antarctica - or rather, many secret lakes. Scientists have drilled holes through the thick glacial ice that weighs down Antarctica and discovered liquid lakes underneath. And what's particularly exciting: these lakes are full of microscopic life. Researchers can use water samples to learn how these tiny creatures survive in such a harsh environment. This could give the researchers an impression of how living things can survive on other planets - for example under the ice that was discovered on Mars.

4. Massive mountains

A huge mountain range divides Antarctica into an eastern and a western region. The mountain range is one of the longest on earth and extends for around 4,800 kilometers. Many of these mountains are buried under ice and snow, but some peaks are so steep that they are free of snow.

5. A lot of research

Although there are no permanent residents in Antarctica, people stay here all year round. The isolation and harsh climate of the continent, which make it so difficult to inhabit, make it perfect for research projects of all kinds. The researchers stay in the bases in Antarctica and research the life, geography and temperature of the continent. It is also an important location for astronomers - the clear atmosphere and almost permanent darkness in winter are ideal for stargazers.

6. Midnight sun and permanent darkness

When you travel to Antarctica, you will see one of the most fascinating sights in the world: the midnight sun. South of the Arctic Circle there is a period of several weeks or several months during which the sun does not set. Summer at the South Pole is consistently bright, so you can still read outside at midnight if you want.

The researchers, who stay here all year round, also experience the exact opposite - the pitch black polar night. Tourists can only observe this phenomenon in the far north in the Arctic, because the tourist season in Antarctica ends at the end of summer.

7. Wind

The geography of Antarctica and the very special climate ensure a very special type of wind, the carabatic winds. These winds form when air moves down slopes. In Antarctica, the mountain range borders wide, flat plains, creating dramatic winds. Some of the highest wind speeds of all time have been recorded on the southernmost continent. The world record for wind speed is shared by the Dumont d‘Urville research station and Mount Washington in the US state of New Hampshire, where wind speeds of 372 km / h were measured.

8. Volcanic activity

There are many extinct volcanoes in Antarctica, but there are also two active ones. One of them is located on Deception Island and is a very interesting and rare type of volcano. It lies under the ice of the Antarctic and creates eruptions under the ice. The other volcano in Antarctica, Mount Erebus, is a true picture of a volcano. The continent's most active volcano looks like a scientific experiment come to life. Mount Erebus is one of the few volcanoes on earth that has a permanent lake of molten lava in its crater.

9. Mega dunes

Satellite photos from Antarctica have shown a fascinating surface phenomenon called "megadunes". These are undulating formations in the frozen surface that are flat and immensely long. The result is that parts of Antarctica, viewed from above, have a striped pattern. The interesting thing about these dunes is that they are barely noticeable from land - although they occupy large chunks of the surface, the slopes themselves are so gentle that they are barely noticeable.

10. Meteorites

If you would like to look for meteorites, you should go to Antarctica. The continent is considered the perfect place to find fallen rocks from space. Two features of Antarctica make it so attractive to meteorite fans: the vast expanse and the ice drift. In the monochrome landscape, the dark boulders stand out clearly, and the ice drift ensures that they all accumulate in the same region. This is why these finds from space are relatively easy to find.