The coronavirus is not present in Antarctica. It’s so isolated that the rules that are supposed to protect us from the deadly virus that’s seemingly everywhere don’t apply there. There are not enough people, movement, or intake of new residents to endanger the people who are already in there.
This is just one thing that makes Antarctica a unique place, unlike anything on earth. You’d be forgiven if you think that it’s just the southern equivalent of the North Pole. The North Pole is isolated, frozen, and unique. But, unlike its northern counterpart, Antarctica’s landmass is completely detached from any continent. The only way to get to Antarctica is by cruise ship or plane or ship through the tip of South America.
If that’s not extreme enough, here are 20 facts about Antarctica that will make you think that it’s an alien continent:
- Time Doesn’t Exist There — Six months of day or six months of night, these are the only two markers that allow you to tell when in the year you’re currently in. Without the 24-hour cycle, your clock is basically useless. You may take after the time at the Ushuaia time zone, but when you’re in there, you’ll know that there’s no time.
- Sleds Are Non-Existent — After 1994, non-local fauna isn’t allowed in the continent anymore. As such, people were never allowed to breed huskies to pull sleds. Ironically, in this place where climate change’s effects are starkest, the only way to get through the ice is by motor vehicles.
- Glaciologists and an Ancient Glass of Water — People who study the ice in Antarctica get a glimpse of what life is like thousands of years ago, and if one likes you enough, he or she may let you drink water from the time of the Egyptians. The Egyptians!
- If Antarctica Melts, the World Drowns — The continent has the most amount of freshwater in the world. And if all the thickest ice in the South Pole melts, sea levels would rise 200 feet and the world will drown.
- Blood Falls — The subglacial lake (yes, that’s correct) contains a high amount of salt and oxidized iron that becomes red when it comes into contact with oxygen. This is Blood Falls, one of the strangest sights in all the icy whiteness of Antarctica.
- Sea creatures have antifreeze in their blood, allowing them to not freeze under the freezing water
- There are seven Christian churches on the continent.
- 4.5 million years ago, Antarctica was Florida.
- The continent was only discovered 200 years ago. What was there before we discovered it?
- Peace exists in Antarctica, as it’s the only continent that no one can ever claim.
- In a place of extremes, you can see global warming in action here.
- Deep Lake in Antarctica, the saltiest body of water in there, cannot freeze.
- Every direction in Antarctica is north.
- There is a marathon in Antarctica because why not?
- Antarctica is the perfect place to conduct scientific experiments.
- Grand Canyon of Ice — There is an unnamed rift in Antarctica that’s almost as big as the Grand Canyon, and scientists are speculating that it’s even bigger. Can you imagine what’s in there?
- Wind So Strong, It Could Lift a Plane — Katabatic, the name of the strongest winds in the continent, can reach up to 320 km/h. To put it into perspective, it’s the speed a commercial plane needs to achieve to take off.
- Dry as Hell — There are places in Antarctica that haven’t received rain or snow in two million years. This place, which is surrounded by ice and things that melt, has been bone dry since before man came to be. In short, there are deserts there.
- Meteorite Galore — Antarctica has so many deposits of meteorites that scientists can get lost just finding those outer-space rocks in there.
- An Island of Moving Ice — The Ross Ice Shelf, which is 510,000 square kilometers, is a moving mass of ice that’s like a moving state. Its size is so amazing; it’s hard to believe for people who see it.
There are endless ice, endless days, and endless nights. It’s no wonder that Antarctica is so different and so fascinating, and if for some reason you can go there, it will be an experience like no other.