Facts about the South Pole


  • Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, and driest place on earth.
  • There is about eight times as much ice in Antarctica as in the Arctic.
  • Antarctica has no native population or permanent residents. There are a few researchers and explorers who stay for long periods.
  • The South Pole is actually desert. The humidity is near zero and they almost never have any precipitation. High winds will blow the snow around quite a bit.
  • Antarctica is home to Mount Erebus – the southern-most active volcano in the world.
  • It almost never gets above 0° C in Antarctica. The highest recorded temperature at the South Pole is 7° F -13.8° C.
  • The world’s lowest temperature of -128 degrees F was recorded at the Russia Vostok Station in Antarctica.
  • Only 2% of Antarctica’s land is not covered in ice.
  • Hidden under the ice sheet is Lake Vostok, a freshwater lake with 2.5 miles of frozen water. This lake is one of more than 200 different bodies of water that has been discovered beneath the ice.
  • During the winter (late March to late September) it is dark all the time; in the summer it is light 24 hours a day.
  • Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone.
  • Since 1970, there have been more than 10,000 meteorites discovered in Antarctica, a few up to 700,000 years old.
  • Antarctica doubles in size in the winter. Its sea ice expands about 40,000 square miles per day, adding up to an extra 12 million square miles of ice around the land mass (the equivalent of 1.5 United States).
  • The meaning of ‘Antarctica’ is ‘opposite the bear’. The ancient Greeks named the frozen north ‘Arktikos’ after their word for ‘bear’, as the Great Bear (Ursa Major) is above the North Pole.
  • If all the ice in Antarctica melted, the world’s sea levels would rise by about 200 feet.