Southern continent

Even the ancient scientists, recognizing the sphericity of our planet, were convinced - the Southern continent, located in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, exists. In their opinion, such a continent created the symmetry of the globe and supported its "balance" with its mass. In search of the Southern continent, the Spaniards set out in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Even the ancient scientists, recognizing the sphericity of our planet, were convinced - the Southern continent, located in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, exists

There was a second period of great discoveries. Spanish ships held the championship on all the oceans. In search of the elusive Southern continent, the Spaniards opened the Philippines and captured them, inflicted on a secret map New Guinea, Solomon Islands and even the north coast Australia. The Dutch mainland was looking for the Dutch, the British and the French. But all is ineffectual.

James Cook on the three-masted barge "Endeavor" went into his first round-the-world voyage with a secret instruction: by all means open the southern continent. But he did not fulfill the task.

Half a century later, two Russian sailing ships "Vostok" and "Mirny" on January 16 (28), 1820, under the command of Faddey Faddeevich Bellingshausen and Mikhail Petrovich Lazarev, opened the Southern continent - Antarctica. Their expedition is one of the most remarkable for its time. If we compare their sloops with modern ships, then they were very small. Sailors brought valuable information about the nature of the Southern Ocean and the entire Southern Hemisphere, discovered 29 islands, updated navigational maps and maps of currents. Finally, dispelled the myth of inaccessibility for navigation of Antarctic waters. In the Southern Ocean are the seas: Amundsen, Bellingshausen, Davis, Durville, Ross, Commonwealth, Wadell.

The center of Antarctica roughly coincides with the southern geographic pole. Antarctica is washed by the waters of the Southern Ocean. The area of the continent is about 14107000 km2 (of which the shelf glaciers are 930000 km2, the islands are 75500 km2). Antarctica is also called part of the world, consisting of the mainland of Antarctica and the adjacent islands.

The southern continent - Antarctica is divided into geographical areas and areas discovered by years earlier by various travelers. The area explored and named after the discoverer (or other persons) is called "the earth".

The southern continent is the highest continent of the Earth, the average height of the surface of the continent above sea level is more than 2000 m, and in the center of the continent it reaches 4000 m. Most of this height is the constant glacial cover of the continent, under which the continental relief is hidden and only 0,3% of its area is ice-free - mainly in West Antarctica and the Transantarctic mountains.

Research using modern methods made it possible to learn more about the subglacial relief of the Southern continent. As a result of research it was found out that about one third of the continent lies below the level of the world ocean, studies also showed the presence of mountain chains and massifs.

The western part of the continent has a complex terrain and large elevations. Here are the highest mountain (Vinson - 4892 m) and the deepest depression (Bentley deflection - 2555 m) in Antarctica. The eastern part of the southern continent has a predominantly smoothed relief, with separate plateaus and mountain ranges up to 3-4 km high.

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest on our planet and exceeds the closest-sized Greenland ice sheet by an area of approximately 10 times. It is concentrated about 30 million km3 ice, that is 90% of all ice land. In addition, the glacial cover of the Southern continent contains about 80% of all fresh water on the planet; if it completely melts, the level of the World Ocean will rise by almost 60 meters.

The southern continent is distinguished by extremely severe cold climate. In East Antarctica at Antarctic station Vostok on July 21, 1983 the lowest temperature of air on the Earth was recorded for the whole history of meteorological measurements: 89,2 degrees below zero. The area is considered to be the pole of the Earth's cold.