26 terms

Antarctica- Physical Geography

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-49°C
Average temperature
200mph
Maximum Winds speeds
14 million km2
Area of continents
-89°C
Coldest ever recorded temperature at Vostok research station
Over 98%
Of Antarctica is covered by ice. It is the driest and coldest continent on earth.
Size
Antarctica is the fifth largest continent
Transantarctic Mountains
A mountain range of uplifted sedimentary rock in Antarctica which extends across the continent from Cape Adare in northern Victoria Land to Coats Land. These mountains divide East Antarctica and West Antarctica.
Features of Transantarctic Mountains
Total length of about 3,500 km and maximum height of 4,500m
Antarctic Peninsular
Extends 1,300 km. Beneath the ice sheet which covers it, the Antarctic Peninsula consists of a string of bedrock islands; these are separated by deep channels whose bottoms lie at depths considerably below current sea level.
Tierra del Fuego
The southernmost tip of South America, lies only about 1,000 km (620 miles) away across the Drake Passage from the Antarctic Peninsular
Nunataks
High, ice free rocky peaks above ice sheets
Cold desert
Antarctica receives only 166mm on average and this declines as you move inland
Antarctic Circle
Approximately 66.5 degrees south of the equator. On the day of the southern summer solstice (around December 22 each year), an observer on the Antarctic Circle will see the Sun above the horizon for a full 24 hours. Most of Antarctica is within this line
Antarctica
Continent surrounding the South Pole, located almost entirely within the Antarctic Circle. It is covered by an ice cap up to thirteen thousand feet thick.
Ice shelves
A floating sheet of ice permanently attached to a land mass such as the Ross Ice Shelf in the Ross Sea
Ice sheet
A mass of glacier ice that covers surrounding terrain and is greater than 50,000 km2 (19,000 sq mi), this is also known as continental glacier. Ice sheets are bigger than ice shelves or alpine glaciers.
Southern Ocean
Also known as the Antarctic Ocean or the Austral Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of the World Ocean, generally taken to be south of 60° S latitude and encircling Antarctica.
Antarctic Convergence Zone
Found at approximately 60°Cold Northward flowing Antarctic water meets warm water from the north
32km to 48km
Width of Antarctic Convergence zone dependent upon the season and longitude
High marine productivity
Is found in the Antarctic Convergence zone as water mixes and upwells where cold water sinks under warmer waters. Antarctic Krill thrive here.
West wind drift
Ocean current that goes anticlockwise around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. Also known as Antarctic Circumpolar Current
East wind drift
Ocean current that travels CLOCKWISE around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean
Antarctic Circumpolar Current
Current that blocks the southwards flow of warm ocean water
Antarctic Divergence
Zone where west wind drift and east wind drift meet
Phytoplankton
Absorb energy from the Sun and nutrients from the water to produce their own food.
Antarctic seas
Are extremely productive because phytoplankton grows abundantly during the extended daylight of summer and feeds huge populations of krill.
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