US Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd, with the assistance of his first pilot Bernt Balchen, became the first person to fly over the South Pole on 29 November 1929. With the ban of CFCs in the Montreal Protocol of 1989, climate projections indicate that the ozone layer will return to 1980 levels between 2050 and 2070. [84], The first child born in the southern polar region was Norwegian girl Solveig Gunbjørg Jacobsen, born in Grytviken on 8 October 1913, and her birth was registered by the resident British Magistrate of South Georgia. During the Nimrod Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton in 1907, parties led by Edgeworth David became the first to climb Mount Erebus and to reach the South Magnetic Pole. Other dormant volcanoes may potentially be active. The number of people conducting and supporting scientific research and other work on the continent and its nearby islands varies from about 1,000 in winter to about 5,000 in the summer, giving it a population density between 70 and 350 inhabitants per million square kilometres (180 and 900 per million square miles) at these times. [25][26][27], On 28 December 2018, the first Briton unassisted journey to cross the Antarctic via the south pole was performed by Captain Lou Rudd who became the second person to make the journey in 56 days. Precipitation is low (most of Antarctica is a desert) and almost always in the form of snow, which accumulates and forms a giant ice sheet which covers the land. [39] One month later, the doomed Scott Expedition reached the pole. Various factors may aid in their distribution – fairly uniform temperatures of the deep ocean at the poles and the equator which differ by no more than 5 °C, and the major current systems or marine conveyor belt which transport eggs and larval stages. McMurdo Station, which is the largest research station in Antarctica, is capable of housing more than 1,000 scientists, visitors, and tourists. [154] The same group's 2018 systematic review study estimated that ice loss across the entire continent was 43 gigatonnes per year on average during the period from 1992 to 2002 but has accelerated to an average of 220 gigatonnes per year during the five years from 2012 to 2017. The extent of sea ice around Antarctica (in terms of square kilometers of coverage) has remained roughly constant in recent decades, although the amount of variation it has experienced in its thickness is unclear. On the continent itself, the large volume of ice present stores around 70% of the world's fresh water. On top of this base are coal and various modern rocks, such as sandstones, limestones and shales laid down during the Devonian and Jurassic periods to form the Transantarctic Mountains. Antarctic fisheries in 2000–01 reported landing 112,934 tonnes. Parts of this ice sheet form moving glaciers known as ice streams, which flow towards the edges of the continent. Many of the stations are staffed year-round, the winter-over personnel typically arriving from their home countries for a one-year assignment. [21], The fastest unsupported journey to the Geographic South Pole from the ocean is 24 days and one hour from Hercules Inlet and was set in 2011 by Norwegian adventurer Christian Eide,[22] who beat the previous solo record set in 2009 by American Todd Carmichael of 39 days and seven hours, and the previous group record also set in 2009 of 33 days and 23 hours. [178] The hole was detected by scientists in 1985[179] and has tended to increase over the years of observation. There has been some concern over the potential adverse environmental and ecosystem effects caused by the influx of visitors. Geologists tend to study plate tectonics, meteorites from outer space, and resources from the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. [16] Eventually Antarctica was adopted as continental name in the 1890s—the first use of the name is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. Antarctica contains many other mountains, on both the main continent and the surrounding islands. In Eastern Antarctica, seed ferns or pteridosperms became abundant and large amounts of sandstone and shale were laid down at this time. [177], There is a large area of low ozone concentration or "ozone hole" over Antarctica. Not all vessels associated with Antarctic tourism are members of IAATO, but IAATO members account for 95% of the tourist activity. [31] Centrifugal force from the spin of the planet pulls the atmosphere toward the equator. It is located some meters from the Geographic South Pole, and consists of a metallic sphere on a short barber pole, surrounded by the flags of the original Antarctic Treaty signatory states. [21] Cook came within about 120 km (75 mi) of the Antarctic coast before retreating in the face of field ice in January 1773.[22]. [64] It was during this era that Gondwana began to break up. The elapsed time since fall, or terrestrial residence age, of a meteorite represents more information that might be useful in environmental studies of Antarctic ice sheets. [82][83], The first semi-permanent inhabitants of regions near Antarctica (areas situated south of the Antarctic Convergence) were British and American sealers who used to spend a year or more on South Georgia, from 1786 onward. Satellite images from 25 years ago seemingly show it. Glaciation began at the end of the Devonian period (360 Ma), as Gondwana became centred on the South Pole and the climate cooled, though flora remained. If the sheet were to break down, ocean levels would rise by several metres in a relatively geologically short period of time, perhaps a matter of centuries. Weather fronts rarely penetrate far into the continent, leaving the centre cold and dry. [59], In September 2018, researchers at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency released a high resolution terrain map (detail down to the size of a car, and less in some areas) of Antarctica, named the "Reference Elevation Model of Antarctica" (REMA).[60]. [52] This ice sheet is constantly gaining ice from snowfall and losing ice through outflow to the sea. The Weddell seal, a "true seal", is named after Sir James Weddell, commander of British sealing expeditions in the Weddell Sea.

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