Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, driest, highest, farthest and the most mysterious of all the continents roughly centered around the South Pole. It is the fifth largest and highest continent on earth. It is an island continent, which is almost completely covered by ice and surrounds by ocean from all sides. Its area is 14-million sq. km., which is equivalent to India & China put together.
It is the most inaccessible continent since it is waterlocked from all sides due to the southern ocean, which remains frozen for most of the time in the year. The southern ocean freezes all around with thick sea ice whose area varies from 2.65 million sq. km. In peak summer (December-January) to 18.8 million sq. km. in peak winter (July-September).
Antarctica Physical & Geological Description:.
The Antarctica continent can be geographically divided into East Antarctica & West Antarctica. The East Antarctica constitutes a major portion of the continent & lies to the south of the Atlantic, Africa, India and Australia. Beneath the ice cap which covers it , the rockly surface of East Antarctica barely rises above sea level. One of the world's great mountain chains, the .
Transantarctic Mountains which divides the continent into two lie along the edge of East Antarctica,with an average height of 14,860ft (4530m) and extending for almost 4000km;it its feet two wide epicontinental basins open up; The Ross Sea, which lies along the Pacific Sector, and the Weddell Sea facing the Atlantic.
Two hundred Thirty million years age, Antarctica represented the central part of the new-dismembered supercortinent called Gondwanaland, whose constituent blocks slowly moved apart to form the southern continents. East Antarctica moved into its polar position about 80 million years ago, when it was still attached to Australia; the two contents moved apart some 55 million years age.
The validity of Gondwanaland theory is inferred by joining the edges of the countries like South America, Peninsular India, Australia and New Zealand as well as by the similarity of the rock found in the areas adjacent to their presumed lines of separation.