Antarctica is the Earth’s southernmost continent. It’s on the South Pole, entirely south of the Antarctic Circle. Around Antarctica is the southern ocean. It’s the fifth-largest continent after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. About 99% of Antarctica is covered by ice, the coldest continent.
Antarctica is one of the world’s least explored and most mysterious places. The continent is a freezing, desolate place with barren landscapes that make it an inhospitable permanent human settlement. For this reason, relatively little is known about one of the planet’s largest continents. Over the years, fossils of long-extinct plants and even dinosaurs were uncovered many millions of years ago. Plant fossils tell the story of an Antarctica covered in lush rainforest.
Why can not you explore Antarctica?
No humans live in Antarctica permanently. However, about 1,000 to 5,000 people lived through the year at science stations across the continent. Only plants and animals can survive the cold life here. But why isn’t anyone allowed actually to visit their called continent? There are more reasons for it than protecting people in the environment. Here are the top 10 reasons why you can not explore/visit Antarctica:
1. Protection of the environment
The South Pole is overflowing with numerous different species. People don’t know much about it. There are reports that there could be hundreds or even thousands of species unknown to humanity. Every type of ice-loving animal lives in Antarctica. People aren’t allowed to go there and explore the continent themselves as it could endanger the biodiverse species living there. There are underground mountains.
- According to reports from scientists, there are more than 400 lakes under the thick layer of ice that covers the whole continent.
Not just that, the continent is filled with volcanoes in different areas. These volcanoes spill out gold in melted conditions.
2. For safety purposes
After all, humans don’t think about the dangers much and fall prey to the excitement of exploring. Keeping that in mind, Antarctica has been banned from visiting due to over-safety. It’s the coldest continent globally and can easily be dangerous for anyone except the penguin!
- The temperatures there can drop to negative 130 degrees Fahrenheit or negative 90 degrees Celsius.
Some of us cannot even take that, let alone minus 90. This temperature drop can result in extreme weather and end up causing trouble for the humans there. There have been many reports of people who went to wonder in the land of Antarctica never to return. There’s no network coverage and no regular humans who would give you a ride out of the continent. So if you’re planning on a trip there, don’t forget the fact that you can’t go hitchhiking. It’s a matter of life and death.
3. Shady stuff
Protections of the whole environment and ourselves seem well at all. That might be the primary concern. But one could always argue that these two factors are not enough to bend the whole continent from human visits. So that might not be the entire story.
- Many believe that some shady things could go down to the South Pole, which is kept well hidden from the world.
Humans are known for keeping secrets and making facilities to explore and run experiments. To do them in a lawless land with no humans does make sense. It would have to be well hidden under the thick ice layer. Some theories include a hidden fortress under the thick layer of ice built and used during World War. Flat earthers think that the continent has the end gate of the world.
4. Plane routes
Planes have very strict rules regarding their flight routes for safety and political reasons. For example, flights going over Tibet are banned due to the mountain ranges in the region. However, free-went Flyers may not realize that planes also don’t fly over Antarctica. Although charter flights may still fly over it for an entirely different reason, commercial airlines rarely do.
- An aircraft must be within an hour of an airport to Lent in the event of an emergency. The rule is called the extended range operation with two-engine airplanes ETOPS.
While some planes can be three or four-engine planes, it limits which commercial airlines can fly over it. When an Air New Zealand flight crashed in Antarctica, coming to all 257 people on board. It demonstrated the dangers of that continent’s frequent whiteouts. It’s not the only reason it could risk the safety of the passengers due to the harsh terrain. The temperature rarely goes above freezing, and it’s so remote that it has no resources that can be used.
5. Rules of the land
There are guidelines for visitors to follow. Each rule broken by a visitor can cause up to a $1,000 fine. It can also lead to one year in prison for each rule broken. Some of the regulations there include that:
- You have to clean your boots before landing to avoid bringing foreign species. Also, do not disturb wildlife.
It’s usually done with disinfectant on a ship. All of this is because they want to protect the continent’s wildlife. Anyone subjected to a crime in the continent for breaking the rules has to answer to the government. There is some country in the treaty.
6. Research bases
Commercial planes are forbidden to fly over the continent, which has been discussed before. But Jets are used to fly researchers and scientists in and out of the continent. Antarctica sounds like a place where you cannot survive, but it’s part of their job for some. Here are some research facilities on the continent, and they do have some coffee shops.
- There are around 3,000 researchers in the summer and about 400 in the winter. There are some general stores, two ATMs, and a post office on the whole continent.
If aliens were to live on earth and not try to be found, they’d head to Antarctica. In 2017 theory started emerging that there was an underwater base off the coast of Antarctica. An object was discovered 500 meters long, and the official UFO sighting hotspot website posted its image. Arguments against it claimed that it was some iceberg. But the website says that the object doesn’t look like an iceberg and might as well be a UFO spaceship.
For a very long time, people had been searching for the lost city of Atlantis, which Plato talked about in great depth in his book the Republic. The people of Atlantis had almost mystic qualities. Also, it was a rather advanced civilization drowned under some tragic event, never to be found again. Most people have said that it’s fiction. The concept of an underwater city of Atlantis has been used a lot in fiction movies like Aquaman.
Some believe that this city is real and still exists under the ocean somewhere. Theorists have been convinced that the city is under the thick ice of Antarctica. It’s one of the reasons that it hasn’t been found yet. Another reason it hasn’t been found is that it’s probably not real.
9. The bloop
In 1997 researchers listening for underwater volcanic activity in the Southern Pacific recorded a strangely powerful and extremely loud sound. Using hydrophones or underwater microphones placed more than 3219 kilometers across the Pacific, they’ve recorded numerous instances of the noise. It was unlike anything they’d heard before. Not only was it loud, but the sound also had a unique characteristic that came to be known as the bloop.
Scientists were eager to discover the origin of the sound. But with about 95% of the ocean unexplored theories, the bloop from secret underwater military exercises ship engines or some other sea creature unknown to science. They finally discovered the source of those thunderous rumbles from the deep in 2005. The bloop was an ice quake, an iceberg cracking and breaking away from an Antarctic glacier.
In 2013 an article claimed that there are three more periods, and they’re down in Antarctica. The report said that American and European scientists discovered those in the coldest continent. Not much is known about them. But news emerged saying that authorities are trying to send a team down there to learn more about them and see if they’re natural or artificial.
Around three million years ago, Antarctica reached a tipping point. The cycles of gentle warming that had kept the last ice sheets at bay stopped. The continent plunged into a deep freeze. Sheets of ice 3km thick covered its surface. The last traces of life vanished. Finally, the Antarctica we know today had arrived.
A couple of million years later, a group of African bipedal apes evolved brains big enough to make themselves top of the food chain. They moved out of Africa, discovered writing and geography, and settled around the eastern Mediterranean. Eventually, a civilization we know as Ancient Greece arose. Its geographers began to speculate that there might be another land far to the south, hidden from view.
In the Middle Ages, map makers even began including a vast, blank supercontinent over the South Pole. Incidentally, in those days, the fabled southern land was known mostly as Terra Australis Incognita. But the discovery of Australia used up that name, so, well, back to Antarctica. Despite appearing on maps, no one had ever seen Antarctica.