Quick Facts, Myths and Misperceptions



Area of Antarctica: 14.4 million km2


Ice: Average thickness is 1.6 km


Discovery: 1820 by a Russian ship under the command of Mikhail Lazarev






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MYTH: Antarctica is covered with ice.

FACT:  Over 100km2 is not covered with ice, and is solid ground.


MYTH: Antarctica is not a political entity

FACT:  It is a political entity founded by the 1961 ATS Treaty, with its own money.


MYTH: Antarctica is the smallest continent.

FACT:  It is larger in land area than both Europe and Australia


MYTH: The Sahara Desert is the largest in the world.

FACT:  The center of Antarctica gets no rain, and is the largest 'desert' in the world


MYTH: Antarctica is too cold for plants, animals and people

FACT:  We have many of each: algae, moss, lichens, penguins, seals and... people!


MYTH: All the settlements on Antarctica are recent

FACT:  12 date from the 1950s, 7 from the 1960s (8 counting University Peak),

             07 from the 1970s, 16 from the 1980s, 5 from the 1990s and 3 from 2000s.