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Последняя редакция №8 от 02.04.12 | История
URL: http://kb.mista.ru/article.php?id=877

Here is a short history of discovering and exploration of Antarctica

Antarctica is one of six continents on Earth, located in the South Pole. It's the coldest place on Earth. The lowest temperature was registered at the point of -89 C at the Russian station "Vostok" (means "East"). Antarctica is mostly an ice-desert. The continent is covered by ice. In some places it can be as thick as about 4 km. But there are a lot of penguins and a few humans: about 4000 people in summer and 1000 in winter that live in Antarctica. There are about 45 scientific stations there.

Antarctica was discovered in 1820 by russian explorers Bellingshausen and Lazarev. It was a special expedition to prove the existance of Antarctica.

In 1839, the british explorer James Clark Ross explored Antarctica a little. He discovered Ross Ice Shelf and two volcanos.

In 1900, the Norwegian explorer Carsten Borchgrevink went on the exploration. He explored about 16 km deep into the continent with sled dogs.

Then there started an epic competition to reach the South Pole.

In 1902, the british officer Robert Scott made his first try to reach the South Pole. He walked for 1540 km. It was a third of whole way to the target. But they had to return before reaching the South Pole because of troubles.

In 1908, the british explorer Ernest Shackleton tried to reach the South Pole with ponies. He also had troubles and returned before the target.

In 1910, Robert Scott made the second and his last try to reach the South Pole. He used ponies and mechanical snow-machines. But there was another Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen who wanted to make it first. He used a hundred dogs and 9 people to do so. On 14 of December 1911, Amundsen reached the South Pole first and successfully returned to the base. Unfortunately, the fate of Scott's team was sad. On 17 of January 1912, he reached the Pole just to see the Norwegian flag posted. Their ponies died and their snow-machines broke, so people were exhausted. They all died on their way back.

In 1956, the United States built a scientific station right at the South Pole and named it 'The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station'.

In the same year, the Soviet Union built their own scientific station "Mirny" (means "Peaceful"}. A bit later in 1957, the second Russian station "Vostok" was built. It's located near the South Magnetic Pole, about 1250 km away from the Geographic South Pole.

In 1959, the International Antarctic Treaty was signed. The continent became a free, non-militarized, non-nuclear and ecological zone, devoted for peace and science.

In 1990, the Lake of Vostok was discovered. It's located beneath the ice at 4 km below the surface. On 5th of February 2012, it was reached and some water from it was taken up to the surface.

Some interesting facts about Antarctica:
* Antarctica contains 80 % the World´s fresh water.
* Antarctica has its own internet domain .aq and telephone code +672.
* In 1978, the first man was born in Antarctica at the Argentinian scientific station.
* In 2012, there was established a regular tourists' route between Moscow (airport Sheremetievo) and russian station "Mirny".

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