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Antartica – Information for research abroad candidates.

Overview: Antarctica is the 5th largest of the 7 continents and is both an island and a continent. It is divided into East Antarctica and West Antarctica by the Transarctic Mountains. Antarctica is simply the most barren place on the planet. Located at the farthest southern point on the planet, Antarctica is the only landmass not claimed by any country.

Less than 5% of Antarctica is free of ice; these areas include mountain peaks, arid “dry valleys,” small coastal areas, and islands. Except for mountain ranges (some buried beneath the ice), much of E Antarctica’s rock surface is near sea level. Antarctic climate is characterized by low temperature, high wind velocities, and frequent blizzards. Rapidly changing weather is typical of coastal locations, where temperatures for the warmest month average around freezing. There is no native human population in Antarctica, nor are there any large land animals.

Antarctica is one and a half times the size of the United States and the temperature here is almost always remains below freezing point! Because of this extreme climatic condition, jobs in the Antarctic usually pay higher wages than similar jobs in more temperate climates. Many jobs are available in Antarctica for scientists, writers, researchers, and support personnel, and about four thousand people in these fields work here every year.

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Information for research abroad candidates:

There are no cities or states in the Antarctic. The only places where people live are bases or stations, usually operated by national governments. Seven countries, including Australia, claim territory in Antarctica, but all of these countries have agreed to put their claims to one side and cooperate with other countries in studying and conserving Antarctica for the benefit of the world.

The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by twelve countries; to date, forty-six countries have signed the treaty. The treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, supports scientific research, and protects the continent’s ecozone.

The continent is best fit for ongoing experiments that are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists of many nationalities and with different research interests.



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