Do People Live in Antarctica?

An iceberg in Antarctica.

Antarctica is located on the South Pole. It is the southernmost continent on Earth. The Southern Ocean surrounds Antartica and access to the landmass is possible by either boat or airplane. Antarctica has no permanent inhabitants – it is too isolated, too cold and too windy for human habitation. 

Geography And Geology Of Antarctica

Approximately 99 % of the continent of Antarctica is covered by thick ice that reaches a thickness of four kilometers in some regions. Beneath the ice there is land with the Transantarctic Mountains dissecting Antarctica into Eastern Antarctica and Western Antarctica. Gamburtsev Mountain ranges is a chain of mountains almost the size of the Alps but are buried by the ice. Lake Vostok is the biggest lake at a length of 250 kilometers and a width of 50 kilometers.

Flora And Fauna of Antarctica

The ecosystem of Antarctica does not support substantial plant growth due to lack of moisture, sunlight, warm temperature, and good soil. Few plants grow for the short duration of summer although algae, lichen, moss, and planktons grow. Animal species can rarely thrive in Antarctica making the krill the only source of food. The marine crustaceans, as well as whales, seals, penguins and some bird species, live in Antarctica.

Who Are The Natives Of Antarctica?

Antarctica has no indigenous population as it is isolated from the rest of the world by distance, harsh climate and storminess of the seas. It was not until the 1820s that navigation technology became sophisticated making human beings explore the deep-sea southwards. 1899 was the first documented date that the first person, a Scottish explorer and cartographer John George Bartholomew first set foot in Antarctica. The continent is one of the few places on earth that were truly discovered. The first recorded child born on the Antarctica soil was Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen on October 8, 1913. His parents were whalers. The initial inhabitants on semi-permanent basis were the American and British sealers who set base near the Antarctic Convergence. The population increased slightly during the whaling time when Norwegians visited the continent up to 1966. The initial settlement areas were Leith Harbour, Prince Olav Harbour, Godthul, Husvik, Grytviken, and King Edward Point. One of the prominent Norwegian settlers was explorer Captain Carl Anton Larsen who later adopted British Citizenship.

Who Lives In Antarctica Today?

Antarctica is one of the few parts of the earth without permanent residents. The region has no permanent residential houses, industries, towns or commercial activities. The only people found in the region are either researchers or tourists. America, Britain, Belgium, Chile, Russia, Argentina, and Norway have set scientific research stations on the continent and adjacent islands. Researchers live in the 66 scientific bases although only 37 bases are staffed throughout the year. The others are visited by staff only in summer. The total occupancy of the continent is about 5,000 people in winter and less than 1,000 in winter. The population density is between 70 and 350 people per one million square kilometers. In 2004, an Orthodox Trinity church was opened within the Bellingshausen station and only one or two priests live in the church on a rotational basis.

Tourists visit the continent in the summer season with statistics indicating that there were 44,202 visitors in the 2016-2017 season. The main tourism site is the Chilean Villa Las Estrellas which can be accessed by ship or by air. The Antarctic Treaty which was signed in 1998 among other conditions restricts access to the continent unless with authority from the government of your mother country. Any visitor must satisfy the government that the visit will not have a negative impact on the environment.


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