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Little America, Antarctica

Updated on September 7, 2016

The seventh continent, Antarctica, was once called Terra Australis Incognita or the Unknown Southern Land. It's only been a little over 100 years since human beings occupied it in 1899. Antarctica is a cold and mysterious place. It was in the early 18th century when search for the fabled southern land began in earnest. Foul weather and high seas kept explorers from reaching Antarctica. Finally in February 1775, after many failed attempts and near run-ins with icebergs, Captain James Cook from England completed the first circumnavigation of Antarctica proving its existence. He declared it as inhospitable and of little use to anyone.

Admiral Richard E. Byrd (1888-1957) - Though not the first to lead expeditions to Antarctica in subsequent years, Admiral Byrd was the first American to do so. Admiral Byrd was born to a noted family in Virginia and in 1912 entered the United States Naval Academy. He learned to fly planes in World War I and loved flying ever after. On May 9, 1926, Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett attempted a flight over the North Pole. He claimed to have reached his destination though much controversy arose from this claim. Still Byrd received widespread acclaim for this trip and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

In 1928, Admiral Byrd led his first expedition to Antarctica. It involved three airplanes and two ships. This first expedition rekindled American interest in Antarctica. Daily radio accounts and newspaper stories made Byrd's first expedition a common topic of conversation. Once in Antarctica, Admiral Byrd and his crew undertook both photographic and scientific expeditions as well as geological surveys on dogsleds, snowmobiles and in airplanes. They established a base camp on the Ross Ice Shelf and called it "Little America".

Little America, Antarctica - Little America was actually a series of research bases established in Antarctica and located south of the Bay of Whales. Wooden buildings were erected and prepared for the harsh weather conditions to follow. The original base was abandoned in 1930 when Byrd started to notice a series of cracks in the ice around Little America. So a new camp was set up about a mile southeast on higher ground. One of the main objectives of the base was to establish an advanced weather station. In this the expedition was successful and several meteorological observations were continually recorded. Little America was eventually able to regularly broadcast over the radio. As far as 11,000 miles around the Earth's curvature, household radios were tuned in. Today little is left of Little America as the bases, one by one, drifted away on icebergs into the sea.

Antarctica - Some statistics -

There are no permanent residents in Antarctica.

There has never been a native population.

Antarctica is 1.4 times as large as the United States.

Receives about 30,000 summer tourists per year.

58 times bigger than the United Kingdom.

Antarctica has 90% of the world's ice.

Lowest recorded temperature at Vostok Station -128.6 F.

Antarctica is the best place to find meteorites.

If Antarctica's ice sheets melted, all the world's oceans would rise over 200 feet.


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    • profile image

      Bryan Unger 6 years ago

      Would love to go see Unger Island. It is ice free. What could beet that.

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Wonder - whoever you are - just Google it.

    • profile image

      Wonder 7 years ago

      Is this information all true and can be backed up by sources?

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks all for stopping by.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Wow suziecat I didn't realize that Antarctica was 1.4 times larger than the U.S.! I've had a strange fascination with Antarctica since I was a boy, something wonderfully mysterious about that place.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      Great stuff! I enjoyed your article and learned interesting facts about Antarctica today. Thank you!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Very interesting post!!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Wow - fascinating info about the bottom pole!!

    • Naomi R. Cox profile image

      Naomi R. Cox 8 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

      Wow! I love reading history about everything. This was great, the lowest temperture of -128.6, now that's cold. I really enjoyed your hub and thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.

    • drcrischasse profile image

      drcrischasse 8 years ago from NH/Foxboro

      You never really think of Antarctica enough. Here is hoping the ice does not melt

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I don't blame you all for skipping a trip to Antarctica. But I'm glad you stopped by here. Thanks, guys.

    • mpurcell10 profile image

      mpurcell10 8 years ago from Arkansas

      Great hub.I will be staying warm here.

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Great hub and I love the statistics section. Very interesting. Minus 128.6 wow that's cold, at a certain point I imagine you really can't tell the difference it just darn cold.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 8 years ago

      Very interesting subject matter Suzie. I'll pass on a visit there with the chilly temps and 90% of the worlds ice...

    • Mit Kroy profile image

      Mit Kroy 8 years ago from Georgia,USA

      Great hub! Keep on hubbing!

    • Will Apse profile image

      Will Apse 8 years ago

      I was amazed by the 30,000 tourists figure. And sort of horrified by the minus 128 F lowest temperature. I like palm trees these days but it would still be a fascinating place to visit.

      Interesting read, thanks.

    • jayjay40 profile image

      jayjay40 8 years ago from Bristol England

      Brrr, and I thought it was cold here! Amazing facts well done suziecat7 on another good hub

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Thanks for reading, BP.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Very interesting hub!