Get a few fun facts about Antarctica
• Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent, following Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.
• The 1961 Antarctic Treaty calls the continent a “pristine laboratory of worldwide significance.”
• The lowest known land point in Antarctica is in the Bentley Subglacial Trench. It is the world’s lowest elevation not under seawater.
• Antarctica holds about 70% of the Earth’s fresh water.
• Precipitation is so sparse on the continent that it is classified as one of the world’s driest deserts.
• Although the sun shines continuously in the summer months, the rays hit the land at too sharp an angle to melt the ice.
• At the South Pole, the average temperature is -56.2 degrees F and the record high is 7.5 degrees F.
• According to findings from a NASA satellite, temperatures in East Antarctica dipped to -135.8 degrees F in August 2010. That is the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth. On July 31, 2013, that mark was almost reached again when the temperature plummeted to -135.3 degrees F.
• U.S. explorer Admiral Richard Byrd called Antarctica “the last continent of silence.”