Antarctica Facts

Select one of the following links for more information about Antarctica.


A Brief History Of Antarctica~350 BCE

The name Antarctica was created by the Greeks and is the Romanized version of the word ανταρκτική (antarktiké), which means "opposite to the north". Aristotle knew of the existence of the Arctic to the north and hypothesized by his mathematical thinking of symmetry that there must be a land mass to the south to balance the world.

Geography Of Antarctica

Antarctica is almost entirely covered by an ice sheet. At its thickest the ice is over 4 km or 2.48 miles deep. Beneath this ice there is a hidden landscape of mountains, valleys and plains. The dome-shaped ice sheet has been formed over hundreds of thousands of years by the accumulation of snow. The ice generally flows outwards from the centre of the continent towards the surrounding ocean, and Antarctica has thousands of glaciers extending into the sea.



IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) and complies by the organization's guidelines in promoting and practicing safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic. IAATO, in cooperation with ship operators, has established extensive procedures and guidelines that ensure appropriate, safe and environmentally sound travel to the Antarctic.


The Antarctic Treaty

The Antarctic Treaty was signed on 1 December 1959 in Washington DC by the twelve countries who had scientists active in and around Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58. The Treaty entered into force in 1961 and the total number of nations who are Parties to the Treaty is now 48 (Nov 2010).