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The Characteristics of Antarctica

by Rezha Ariffianta

The very wide mainland on the planet of earth are divided into 6 continents, those are Asia Continent, Africa Continent, Europe Continent, America Continent, Australia Continent, and Antarctica Continent. This discussion will particularly explain the characteristics of Antarctica Continent. Based on the history, Antarctica Continent was firstly found by James Cook in 1772 – 1774 who sailed till South Georgia in Antarctica Continent.

If you haven’t visited or known the location and the geographical situation of Antarctica, here we will explain in detail the characteristics of Antarctica Continent with some special characteristics that differentiate it with Arctic Continent  in the northernmost continent or north pole.


Antarctica Continent is the southernmost continent and called as the south pole. This continent is astronomically located in 52º South Latitude – 90º South Latitude and border with some oceans like Atlantic Ocean in the north side and Australia Continent, Pacific Ocean in the west and east side, Indian Ocean in the south side.

Topography and Climate

Antarctica continent topographically is about 14.000.000 km² and most of it are mountains range those are always covered by the snow in the whole year. Some of the mountains range in Antarctica continent are Mount Vinson Massif (5.140 m), Mount Kirkpatrick (4.528 m), Mount Markham (4.350 m), and Mount Jackson (4.189 m). This continent is the 6th biggest continent after Asia continent, Africa continent, Europe continent, America continent, and Australia continent. As it is the mainland of eternal snow with the mountains range, Antarctica continent has a climate fusion of the strong wind blow, very cold air, and the snowstorm that happen anytime.

Based on the record, the winter peak with temperature below -40º C (in the coast) and -70º C (in the inland) is in June, while the summer comes in December. Flora and fauna that live in Antarctica continent are fungi, algae, some moss varieties, penguin, nematode, seals, sea lions, and whales.

Beside that, based on the exploration done by some countries that did researches in Antarctica continent, this continent is divided into 5 territories, those are:

  • Graham Land
  • Queen Maud or Finbel Land
  • Enderble Land
  • South Adelia or Terra Australis Land
  • Wilkes Land


Antarctica continent has some characteristics those are different with Arctic continent on the Northernmost of the earth. Those are:

  1. A continent with eternal snow in the whole year. This is because most of the territory of Antarctica continent is located in the south of equator line or imaginary track line of the sun that pass by the earth, do not get much sunlight in the whole year. So that the temperature on the Antarctica land is always below 0º. So, no wonder if the water on this land always freezes and makes eternal snow in the whole year.
  2. Unoccupied continent. Because its location is far from the equator line, so the climate in Antarctica continent has 1 season only which is winter only in the whole year. For sure, the winter with a very cold temperature is not appropriate for some ecosystem of the creatures to survive in an extreme cold temperature.
  3. A continent with no countries. Even though a lo of countries do exploration and research in this continent, but none of them claim that Antarctica continent belongs to them. However, some countries has territories in Antarctica continent as their research area like US, German, French, and England. Beside that, Antarctica has its own international telephone code which is +672.
  4. The southernmost continent of the earth. Based on the geography on the map and satellite imagery, the position of Antarctica continent is in the southernmost of the earth or below equator line.
  5. A continent that has only tundra vegetation. Most of the scientist said that Antarctica is desert as its rainfall is only 200 mm in each year. It has barren land contour and strong wind blow. With such topography, the only vegetation that may survive in a very cold temperature is tundra, a kind of solubility plants that can survive in the temperature below 0º.
  6. The south magnetic continent. In the world direction system, Antarctica is a continent has magnetic pole with the south direction. This is the set of the north magnetic pole.

From the explanation above, there are some interesting facts that may be explained from some resources. First, the first man born in Antarctica continent is Emilio Marcos Palma in 1978, an Argentina citizen. The other fact is the territory code of Antarctica continent is AQ.

Antarctica continent is much more extreme than Arctic continent of which most of the territory can be occupied by human like Eskimo tribe. In tourism sector, Antarctica continent may not be tourist destination since the plane incident in 1970s. That’s all the explanation of Antarctica continent’s characteristics. Hopefully, its useful for all of you.

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