In the dry valleys, the same effect occurs over a rock base, leading to a desiccated landscape..  Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation; the South Pole receives less than 10 mm (0.4 in) per year, on average. Antarctic ice serves as both the shield and the detection medium for the largest neutrino telescope in the world, built 2 km (1.2 mi) below Amundsen–Scott station.  In most of the interior of the continent, precipitation is very low, down to 20 mm (0.8 in) per year; in a few "blue ice" areas precipitation is lower than mass loss by sublimation, and so the local mass balance is negative. , In January 2013 an 18 kg (40 lb) meteorite was discovered frozen in ice on the Nansen ice field by a Search for Antarctic Meteorites, Belgian Approach (SAMBA) mission.. Managers and other senior officers of the whaling stations often lived together with their families. , About 1,150 species of fungi have been recorded from Antarctica, of which about 750 are non-lichen-forming and 400 are lichen-forming. The portion west of the Weddell Sea and east of the Ross Sea is called West Antarctica and the remainder East Antarctica. They proposed instead that a comprehensive regime to protect the Antarctic environment be negotiated in its place.  It was during this era that Gondwana began to break up. facebook twitter. Many astronomical observations are better made from the interior of Antarctica than from most surface locations because of the high elevation, which results in a thin atmosphere; low temperature, which minimises the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere; and absence of light pollution, thus allowing for a view of space clearer than anywhere else on Earth. The Antarctican dollar, a souvenir item sold in the United States and Canada, is not legal tender.. Costing $16.3 million, the prefabricated station, which is part of the International Polar Year, was shipped to the South Pole from Belgium by the end of 2008 to monitor the health of the polar regions.  Invertebrate life includes microscopic mites like the Alaskozetes antarcticus, lice, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, krill and springtails. Around 23 Ma, the Drake Passage opened between Antarctica and South America, resulting in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that completely isolated the continent. , There is a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" over Antarctica. Africa separated from Antarctica in the Jurassic, around 160 Ma, followed by the Indian subcontinent in the early Cretaceous (about 125 Ma). More than 235 marine organisms live in both polar regions, having bridged the gap of 12,000 km (7,456 mi). , Seven hundred species of algae exist, most of which are phytoplankton.  After that, the Pleistocene ice age covered the whole continent and destroyed all major plant life on it..  According to NASA, the most widespread Antarctic surface melting of the past 30 years occurred in 2005, when an area of ice comparable in size to California briefly melted and refroze; this may have resulted from temperatures rising to as high as 5 °C (41 °F).  In addition, Shackleton and three other members of his expedition made several firsts in December 1908 – February 1909: they were the first humans to traverse the Ross Ice Shelf, the first to traverse the Transantarctic Mountains (via the Beardmore Glacier), and the first to set foot on the South Polar Plateau. This sediment uplift was accompanied by igneous intrusions and volcanism. On the continent itself, the large volume of ice present stores around 70% of the world's fresh water. This ice is formed from the ocean water and floats in the same water and thus does not contribute to rise in sea level.  Ozone absorbs large amounts of ultraviolet radiation in the stratosphere.
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