A little bit about Antarctica
Antarctica is the most southern continent on the planet Earth. It can be located below the country of Australia in the Antarctic region of the southern hemisphere. It is the fifth largest continent in area on the planet. Approximately 98% of Antarctica is covered with ice that in on average is 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) thick. Antarctica is considered to be a desert as it only gets a small amount of rain per year. It is inhabited by cold climate wildlife such as penguins, seals, roundworms and mites. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside in Antarctica yearly in the research stations and science facilities that are spread across the continent. Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest and windiest continent on the planet.
Who Owns Antarctica?
No country owns Antarctica. It is governed and protected by the Antarctic Treaty. The country is considered politically neutral and it is looked after by the 12 countries that have signed the Antarctic Treaty, including the Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and the United States. The purpose of this treaty was to set Antarctica aside as a scientific preserve. This allowed various countries to study the wildlife and climate of this continent. The treaty allowed for freedom of scientific investigation and environmental protection. It also banned any military activity on the continent. The treaty was later amended to include a ban on mineral mining. Antarctica is divided into Antarctic divisions that are looked after by various countries. Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom have the main territorial claims in Antarctica. Most of these countries recognize each other claims, but there has been some friction between Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom as their claimed territories overlap. Currently, Australia claims the largest territory of Antarctica.