Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent.
Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants, protista, and certain animals, such as mites, nematodes, penguins, seals and tardigrades. Although myths and speculation about a Terra Australis ("Southern Land") date back to antiquity, Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf.
He justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis (1814) by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude; the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance of this country and of its situation on the globe: it has antiquity to recommend it; and, having no reference to either of the two claiming nations, appears to be less objectionable than any other which could have been selected.
ships captained by three men sighted Antarctica or its ice shelf in 1820: von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Imperial Russian Navy), Edward Bransfield (a captain in the Royal Navy), and Nathaniel Palmer (a sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut).
The First Russian Antarctic expedition led by Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on the 985-ton sloop-of-war Vostok ("East") and the 530-ton support vessel Mirny ("Peaceful") reached a point within 32 km (20 mi) from Queen Maud's Land and recorded the sight of an ice shelf at which became known as the Fimbul ice shelf.
Numerical model results have shown that the buttressing effects of ice rises and rumples are significant, but details of processes and how they evolve remain poorly understood.
Fundamental information about the conditions and processes that cause transitions between floating ice shelves, ice rises and ice rumples is needed in order to assess their impact on ice-sheet behavior.
On the other hand, shelf ice flows across ice rumples, which typically rise only a few tens of meters above the ice shelf.
Ice rises contain rich histories of deglaciation and climate that extend back over timescales ranging from a few millennia to beyond the last glacial maximum.
Targeted high-resolution observational data are needed to evaluate and improve prognostic numerical models and parameterizations of the effects of small-scale pinning points on grounding-zone dynamics.
It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.
Locally grounded features in ice shelves, called ice rises and rumples, play a key role buttressing discharge from the Antarctic Ice Sheet and regulating its contribution to sea level.
Ice rises typically rise several hundreds of meters above the surrounding ice shelf; shelf flow is diverted around them.
Integral to the story of the origin of the name "Antarctica" is how it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, and it was because of a mistake made by people who decided that a significant landmass would not be found farther south than Australia.