One Chilly Continent

by Joshua Cuellar, age 8

In Antarctica, ice covers the entire continent. Surprisingly, it is actually a desert that receives less than four inches of moisture per year. The Antarctic snow has piled on top of the land for hundreds of years. Because of this, ice is over a mile thick in many places. Around 90 percent of all the ice on earth is found in Antarctica. Scientists worry the escalating temperatures could make the ice melt, which would cause the oceans to rise about two hundred feet. This ice-covered continent is fascinating to observe.

Life is extremely limited in Antarctica. There are only two species of flowering plants that survive during the summer. There are a few sea birds that can also survive the chilly climate, which are King Penguins, Emperor Penguins, and Snow Petrels. The only mammals that live in Antarctica are seals and whales. They escape the bitter winds by swimming in the ocean. Because of the harsh winters, they migrate north to stay warm. It is extremely difficult for life to exist in Antarctica.

There are many people who travel to Antarctica, which is bizarre. It was first discovered in 1820. There were numerous expeditions, and many ended in injury because of the unbearable climate. In 1902 the first building was erected using rocks. Today, there are seventy research stations in Antarctica. Interestingly, there are around five thousand people that travel to this chilly continent each year.

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