Antarctica - a region south polar world, including mainland Antarctica and the surrounding islands and sea.
For more than 200 years of this harsh land leads to a travelers and explorers. James Cook, traveling pivdennopolyarnymy seas in 1774, met on the way only the accumulation of sea ice. Not seeing the earth, the great navigator categorically stated that the southern continent exists. Then, almost half a century no one tried to restore the search.
later considerable progress in advancing to the Antarctic expedition reached England William Smith and Edward Brendsvilda. But the Russians are considered pioneers of the mainland Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev, who with their expedition in 1820 proved the existence of the continent, defined its boundaries and features of climate.
next seventy years studied the mainland from the sea - too harsh and forbidding it seemed shores. Only in 1895 the Norwegians L. Christensen and K. Borhhrevinkom was initiated a new phase mainland Antarctic research - these brave people have visited the coast of the continent and collected a poor first collection of Antarctic flora. In XX century, are regular Antarctic research - Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Japan sent its expedition there.
Conquest of the South Pole took place in December 1911 Norwegians penguins that a month ahead of its rival Britain's Robert Scott.
Antarctica - the mainland in the southern hemisphere, is around the geographic South Pole. The area of ice shelves and islands, among them - 14 100 thousand km2.
Antarctica washed by three oceans: Indian, Atlantic, Pacific. Internal Sea Antarctica, of course not, because 99% of its territory is covered with glaciers. Ice volume reached 24.9 million km 3 - over 80% of the planet's fresh water.
Antarctica - the highest mainland planet. Ice cover, which was formed here about 20 million years ago, in some places reaches a height of 4 800 m. The presence of ice cover determines the singularity of relief, formed of two layers - the lower indigenous and top ice .
average height of the mainland due to ice cap reaches over 2 000 m (and most other continents), but the vast plains of eastern Antarctica prosila under thickness and ice is below sea level. The western part surrounded with mountain ranges, one of which is crowned with active volcano Erebus. In mainland stretch Transantarctic Mountains. The highest point on the continent is Vinson massif (5140 m). Antarctic Glaciers are constantly moving. At the edge of the mainland ice vidkolyuyetsya, forming icebergs .
found in Antarctica has many natural resources (coal, iron ore, chromium, nickel, gold). But given the severity of climate risk and violation of the ecological balance of this unique region of the planet and Mining recognized as impractical and unprofitable.