Continents | Home / Continents / Antarctica

Last update: February, 12 2021

Antarctica

Introduction

Antarctica is the southernmost continent on Earth. Located around the South Pole, it is surrounded by the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Ross and Weddell Seas. It forms the heart of the Antarctic region, which also includes the emerged parts of the Kerguelen Plateau as well as other island territories of the Antarctic plate.

Geography

Political map of Antarctica

Political map of Antarctica

Borders

The continent is surrounded on all sides by water; the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans all meet at Antarctica. The three oceans are collectively called the Southern Ocean. This is the area located south of 50° latitude.

Area

14,107,637 km2 (5,446,989 sq mi) and 280,000 km² (108,109 sq mi) of it is ice-free

Map of Antarctica

Antarctica map

Population

Population 

Around 1,500 (no permanent population)

Density of population

<0.01/km2 (<0.01/sq mi)

Economy

There is no economic activity in Antarctica outside fishing off the coast and small-scale tourism.

Although coal, hydrocarbons, iron ore, platinum, copper, chromium, nickel, gold and other minerals have been discovered in Antarctica, they are not present in sufficient quantities to enable profitable exploitation. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty of 1991 also limits any activity linked to natural resources. In 1998, an agreement resulted in the ban, for an unlimited period, from exploiting the mineral resources of this continent. This consensus, which will be reviewed in 2048, further limits the development and economic exploitation of the continent.

Claims of territorial sovereignty

FlagCountry nameFlag of the territoryTerritoryArea
flag of argentinaArgentinaflag of Argentine AntarcticaArgentine Antarctica965,597 km²
flag of AustraliaAustraliaflag of AustraliaAustralian Antarctic Territory6,119,818km²
Flag of ChileChileFlag of Chilean Antarctic TerritoryChilean Antarctic Territory1,250,000 km²
flag of FranceFranceFlag of Adélie LandAdélie Land432,000 km²
flag of New ZealandNew Zealandflag of New ZealandRoss Dependency450,000 km²
flag of NorwayNorwayflag of NorwayPeter Island
Queen Maud Land
2,000,000 km²
flag of United KingdomUnited KingdomFlag of British Antarctic TerritoryBritish Antarctic1,950,000 km²
Unclaimed territoryMarie Byrd Land3,426,317 km²

Sources

Institut polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor

The Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty