Continent of Antarctica

Earth's southernmost continent.

Background Information

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Its the fifth largest continent, but its twice the size of Australia. 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which is about 1 mile.

Antarctica covers more than 5,400,000 square miles.

Plant Life in Antarctica

The climate of Antarctica does not allow extensive vegetation to form. A combination of freezing temperatures, poor soil quality, lack of moisture, and lack of sunlight inhibit plant growth. As a result, the diversity of plant life is very low and limited in distribution. The flora of the continent largely consists of bryphytes. There are about 100 species of mosses and 25 species of liverworts), but only two species of flowering plants, both of which are found in the Antarctic Peninsula: Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic pearl wort. Growth is restricted to a few weeks in the summer.

Citation

"Antarctica." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 May 2013. Web. 23 May 2013.