Antarctica - Extreme Wilderness
Antarctica is the coldest continent - Russia's Vostok Station recorded the world's coldest temperature of -89°C in 1983. It is also the driest continent with an average annual snowfall of 125mm. It has no permanent inhabitants and it is the most isolated continent.
It is of immense value to scientists for the study of climate change as it has an important effect on the world's climate and ocean systems.
It was the geographers of ancient Greece who first suggested that there was a large landmass around the South Pole. They named it Anti-Arkitos meaning the opposite of the Arctic.
In 1895, the International Geographical Congress claimed 'the exploration of the Antarctic region is the greatest piece of geographical exploration still to be undertaken' and the 'heroic' age of Antarctic discovery began.
This theme was written with support from Margaret Cummins, Moulsham High School, Kim Stephenson and Pat Wilson.