Antarctica Quiz

WORLD

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

It is the coldest and most inhospitable place on Earth. How much do you know about Antarctica?

What was the coldest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica?

The -128.5 degree reading was captured at Vostok station in 1983.

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Which country operates Vostok station in Antarctica?

The Soviets established Vostok in 1957 and it has been used for all sorts of research.

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What is the highest temperature ever recorded at Vostok Station?

Vostok is one of the coldest places in the world, and the highest recorded temperature is 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

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True or False: Antarctica is the second-largest desert on Earth.

At around 13.8 million square kilometers, Antarctica is actually the biggest desert on the planet.

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What is the average thickness of Antarctic ice?

The average ice thickness is 5,280 feet, or 1 mile.

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How much of Earth's fresh water is frozen in Antarctica's ice sheet?

A whopping 70 percent of our planet's fresh water is locked up in the continent's ice sheet, making it a huge repository of water.

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How much would sea levels rise if Antarctica's ice sheets were to melt?

If sea levels rose by 200 feet, the results would be catastrophic for cities around the globe.

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Compared to the six other continents on Earth, how large is Antarctica?

It is fifth largest, larger than both Australia and Europe.

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In 2011 and 2012, how long did it take one British explorer to cross the continent on skis?

Felicity Aston needed only 59 days to cover the 1,084 miles; she relied on just two supply drops during her journey.

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What percentage of Antarctica is NOT covered by ice?

And that 2 percent is right on the coasts; it's where you'll find the majority of wild animals who dare make this hostile place their home.

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When was the first child born in Antarctica?

Argentina sent a pregnant woman to the area in 1979 in an attempt to claim part of the continent.

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To date, what's the maximum depth recorded at Lake Whillans, which lies beneath about 2,600 feet of ice?

It seems to be a shallow lake, with depths of less than 10 feet, but it is home to thousands of microbes, many of which may be new to science.

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True or False: Antarctica doesn't have a time zone.

Because there's no official time zone, visitors and researchers often go by the time zones in their home countries.

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In some spots, the depth of the ice covering the Gamburtsev Mountains reaches what depth?

The 9,000-foot peaks are crunched beneath ice that’s nearly 16,000 feet thick, particularly over valleys.

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How many permanent residents are there in Antarctica?

There are about 130 people who call Antarctica home, but because there's no government they can't really be called citizens.

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Beneath its ice sheets, there are about how many lakes in Antarctica?

Of the 400 lakes, some are immense. Lake Vostok is roughly the size of Lake Ontario.

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When was the last time it rained in Antarctica's Dry Valleys?

The Dry Valleys encompass an area of around 4,800 square kilometers and rarely sees precipitation. The last real rain may have been 2 million years ago.

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When was Antarctica discovered?

Modern humans didn't discover the continent until 1820, meaning we've only known about Antarctica for about 200 years.

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The Ross Ice Shelf is about as big as which country?

It is just shy of 190,000 square miles, making this ice sheet about the size of France.

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In what year did humans finally reach the South Pole?

After discovering the continent, it took humans nearly a century to reach the South Pole. A Norwegian expedition made it first.

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In 2000, a huge iceberg broke away from an Antarctic ice shelf. The iceberg was about as big as which U.S. state?

The Connecticut-sized ice mountain was 183 miles long and more than 20 miles wide.

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How much of the continent's coastal areas are exposed rock?

Ice makes up the vast majority of the coastline, but about 5 percent is rock.

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How long is the Transantarctic mountain range?

It is about 2,175 miles long, making it one of the longest mountain ranges in the world.

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How many species of penguins are found in Antarctica?

If you're lucky, you might spot six different species of penguins, including the Rockhopper, Macaroni, Emperor, Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap.

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During winter, how much ice does Antarctica add to its mass every single day?

It gets so cold that about 40,000 square miles of ice accumulate each day. By the end of winter, Antarctica has roughly doubled in size.

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Why is Eastern Antarctica colder than Western Antarctica?

With its higher average elevations, the eastern portion of the continent is the coldest.

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As of 2016, how many countries have signed the Antarctic Treaty System?

With 53 countries so far, the treaty essentially establishes Antarctica as a military-free zone that's been set aside for scientific research.

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What's the height of the tallest mountain peak in Antarctica?

The highest peak, the Vinson Massif, is only 16,263 feet, meaning that these mountains are short compared to many others around the world.

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True or False: Of the seven continents on Earth, Antarctica has the third-highest average elevation.

Even though it's mountains aren't particularly impressive, there's enough high places to help Antarctica rank first in average elevation.

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During peak research season, how many people might you find in Antarctica?

Even when the summer weather is "good," the research stations top out at around 4,000 scientists and support staff.

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