Coldest and Windiest Place on Earth

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Antarctica, also known as the "coldest and windiest place on earth", is home to the lowest temperature ever recorded at –89.2 degree Celsius. With historic winds recorded at speeds over three hundred and twenty miles per hour, this area is unbearable for almost all habitats. Most commonly recognized as the fifth largest continent on this planet, this giant freezing mass is place over the South Pole with a total surface area of about fifteen million square kilometers. However, this figure fluctuates depending on the season, for example; it is approximately fourteen and a half million square kilometers in the summer. Yet compared to other continents such as the United States, it's shy of almost half as big.

Divided into two major areas, which are: East Antarctica and Western Antarctica, this continent is predominantly covered with ice through out the year with only one percent of its surface area that is not. The range of mountains called the Transantarctic Mountains splits these two areas up stretching through out the vast area of this continent. There are also many speculations on how this enormous area compares to complete opposite climatic areas such as deserts. But there are chief evidences that have been brought up in the past that link those two together. In fact, according to the author of the book, "The Lonely Planet Antarctica", Jeff Rubin characterizes this isolated area as a desert. In his definition, backed by other geological experts, a particular area with "an average annual precipitation rate of 50mm" is considered a desert. Antarctica's AAP falls under that category, only 2 mm shy of the Sahara desert. The difference between the desert and the icy continent is that there is very little evaporation, so the snow is piled up over years to amount to high, mountains covered with icy sheets.

One of the most surprising facts I came across while doing this research is the presence of volcanic activities in this area. Discovered in 1841 by James Ross, the eruption of Mt. Erebus, is one of only a very few volcanoes in the world with a long-lived lava lake. Field studies concluded that the volcano includes analysis of lava bombs and other form of volcanic ejects resulting from degassing explosions in the lava lake. Other studies of Mount Erebus have included core drilling into the rocky flanks of the volcano to determine the types and sequence of materials erupted and monitoring of seismic wave activity. Of particular interest has been the discovery of several layers of ice interbedded with lava flows, which indicates that in the distant past, lava eruptions occurred over glaciers without completely melting the ice.

The outer edges of Antarctica also known as the "Atlantic Convergence" and also known as the "Antarctic polar front" is the key method of outlining the boundaries of this continent. Due to various chemical interactions and shifting of temperatures, though only by minor degrees, make it hard to locate the outline of its precise location. The author of "Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge", Kim Heacox describes this phenomenon as "a circumpolar strip of sea around the southern part of our planet that reaches of the Atlantic Ocean, Indian and pacific oceans varying between about 45 and 65 degrees south". The convergence is a complex and turbulent area with seawater that has cooled dramatically around the Antarctic continent. As it became heavier, it starts to flow northwards along the seabed. As it unites with warmer subterranean water from equatorial regions, the convergence falls out in an outpouring sequence of the bottomless waters to the exterior. This gush carries out underwater nutrients, which is the key reason why areas in the southern part of this continent are astonishingly productive.

Ice formations are obviously common here. One of the common names of the bergs formed on the ice beds is "Pancake ice". This is formed when slabs of ice that are forming are jostled by the wind and...
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