Antarctica is located virtually completely south of the Antarctic Circle and covers an space of 14.2 million km2.
Described as a polar desert, the continent has a median annual precipitation of 166 millimetres and is roofed by ice with a thickness as much as 1.9km.
Antarctica holds the document for the bottom measured temperature on Earth, −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F), however regardless of the cruel local weather, is house to native species of mites, nematodes, penguins, seals, tardigrades, and types of lichen or moss.
When Robert Falcon Scott led the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to Antarctica in 1910–1913, his males have been discovered lifeless with fossils from the Glossopteris tree, a genus of the extinct Permian order of seed ferns that died out in the course of the end-Permian (Changhsingian) mass extinction.
Though Scott’s expedition on the time was seen because the folly of a tragic hero, the invention of the Glossopteris fossils proved that Antarctica was as soon as a forested panorama filled with greenery and life. Different samples of Glossopteris fossils in Australia, New Zealand, Africa, and India would go on to recommend that Antarctica was as soon as united to the opposite landmasses and continents.
From the top of the Neoproterozoic period to the Cretaceous, Antarctica was a part of the supercontinent Gondwana. The formation of Gondwana started 800 to 650 Ma with the East African Orogeny, the collision of India and Madagascar with East Africa, and was accomplished 600 to 530 Ma with the overlapping Brasiliano and Kuunga orogenies, the collision of South America with Africa, and the addition of Australia and Antarctica, respectively.
Throughout the Cambrian interval, West Antarctica was partially within the northern hemisphere whereas East Antarctica was located on the equator the place invertebrates and trilobites flourished within the tropical seas.
Antarctica noticed a interval of glaciation in the course of the Late Paleozoic icehouse 360 to 260 Ma because it drifted nearer to the South Pole. After deglaciation within the latter half of the Early Permian, the panorama was remodeled by Glossopteris (first found in Scott’s expedition), with later species of Cordaitales, sphenopsids, ferns, and lycophytes.
Throughout the Triassic, Antarctica was dominated by pteridosperms from the genus Dicroidium, in addition to related Triassic flora similar to ginkgophytes, cycadophytes, conifers, and sphenopsids. It was throughout this era that the primary Tetrapods migrated, with palaeontologists discovering fossils that belong to the Lystrosaurus Zone fauna.
The Jurassic and Cretaceous interval noticed the arrival of dinosaurs from the genus Cryolophosaurus and Glacialisaurus, first found within the Transantarctic Mountains, with some proof of Antarctopelta, Trinisaura, Morrosaurus and Imperobator.
Following the breakup of Gondwana which began 180 Ma, Antarctica was utterly remoted from the opposite continents, ensuing within the creation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Present (ACC).
Fashions of Antarctic geography and the ACC recommend that the present, together with decreasing carbon dioxide ranges induced the creation of everlasting polar ice caps that unfold till the continent was utterly coated with in ice.
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