Antarctica  Quick Facts
Land Area:
5,405,000 (mi²) / 12,949,940 (km²)
4,912 (2016) – None Permanent
Largest City:
McMurdo Station– 1,248 (2016)
Number of Countries:
Highest Point / Lowest Point:
Mount Vinson / Bentley Subglacial Trench
Notable Geographical Features:
  • South Pole
  • Ross Ice Shelf

The continent known as Antarctica is also known as the South Pole, due to the fact that the geographical southernmost part of the planet is located within its borders. In many ways Antarctica is the most unique of the 7 continents, with special features not shared by any of the others.


Antarctica is geographically unique in that it has no permanent borders or constant size. Although it is the fifth largest continent overall, its exact size in square miles varies according to the season. The change can be quite dramatic. In the summer, the continent is roughly half of the size of the United States. However, in the winter when the useable area expands due to snow and ice, the continent can more than double in size.

The White Continent

One thing Antarctica has in abundance is plenty of snow and ice. 98% of the continent is covered in ice, and about 70% of the world’s total supply of fresh water is frozen in Antarctica. No other continent is colder, drier or windier than Antarctica, which goes a long way towards explaining another unique feature, its low population.