Video Report on the Expedition:

The southernmost continent occupies the central part of the Antarctic Region (it is the southern polar region which includes the continent of Antarctica and the surrounding area of the Southern Ocean and small islands).

The area of Antarctica is 13.975 million square kilometres including the ice shelves and the islands attached by them to the mainland as well as the ice domes with an area of 1.582.000 square kilometres.

The centre of the mainland which was called “the pole of relative inaccessibility” is located approximately at 84˚ south latitude and 64˚ east longitude, 660 kilometres from the South Pole.


Towards South America there stretches the long and narrow Antarctic Peninsula, the northern extremity of which – Cape Sifre – is the northernmost point of Antarctica and reaches 63˚ 13’ south latitude. The coastline of the mainland is over 30 thousand kilometres long. It is slightly indented, too. Almost all along it represents glacial cliffs up to several tens of metres in height.

The relief of Antarctica is by far not monotonous. Above the ice armor there rises the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Peak Vinson (5140 m) is the highest point of Antarctica. The deepest depression in the subglacial relief of Antarctica is located beside this ridge. It is 2555 metres below the world ocean level. On the island of Ross, there is an active volcano, Erebus. It is 3797 metres high and 805 metres in diameter. At its bottom there is a lake of liquid lava. The height of the mountains that form almost the whole surface of the continent reaches in some eastern places 4000 metres above the sea level. Therefore, Antarctica is considered the highest continent on the planet. Scientists have discovered about 140 subglacial lakes, which are hidden from human eyes at a depth of 3 kilometres. Despite the harsh climate and the temperature dropping to -88˚ C, these lakes never freeze.


The cold pole of our planet is in Antarctica. The average winter temperature is -60˚ C. Even in summer, the temperature does not rise above -20˚ C. On the coast, especially in the Antarctic Peninsula, the summer temperature reaches -10˚ C.

Antarctica can be called the centre of winds. The cold air flows from the central regions of the mainland to the ocean creating strong winds on the coast. Gusts of wind reach a velocity of 30-50 mps, and sometimes up to 90 mps (that is more than 300 km/h!).


The pole is considered to be the pinnacle of the world. Applied to Antarctica, this is really so. The continent rises from the ocean to its centre. In fact, Antarctica is a giant glacier “flowing” from the South Pole in all directions. Antarctica contains about 80 % of the fresh water reserve of the globe. Near the coast there are sections of naked land known as Antarctic oases.

The coasts of Antarctica are washed by the southern waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. It is customary to call these waters the Southern Ocean. Bad weather almost always prevails in the Antarctic. Heavy storms give place to hard gales; high waves and snowfalls make difficulties for navigation even in the summer months. Despite the low humidity of the air over Antarctica, the seas around the continent are almost always enveloped in fog. While the coast is almost always exposed to snowfalls, the inner regions of the mainland enjoy clear and sunny weather.

The Antarctic continent is encircled with icebergs forming a wide ring. They spread most far to the north at the end of winter. In summer, the edge of the sea ice retreats to the mainland. In places, clean water or rarefied ice can be seen near the very shore.


The flora and fauna of Antarctica is poor but original. Many species of animals and plants are found only in this region. Even the most severe areas of the continent are not a biological desert. There are hundreds of varieties of seaweed, about 350 varieties of lichen, up to 100 varieties of moss, and even two kinds of grass. The largest of the local animals is the wingless midge which does not exceed a centimeter in size. Approximately 45 species of birds live seasonally in Antarctica. However only some of them, mainly penguins and skua gulls, nest right on the mainland and brood their chicks here.

Living conditions in Antarctic waters are more favourable than on land, therefore the marine fauna is much richer than the terrestrial one. Among marine invertebrates, the krill that is large (up to 6 cm long) crustaceous plankters are notably typical. In summer they form huge accumulations in the surface layers of the sea and serve as the main food for a number of species of birds, fish, and mammals. Five species of seals are found on the coast of Antarctica, the islands, and drifting ice fields. Whales are common inhabitants of the Antarctic waters. In summer they are more numerous here than ib other areas of the world ocean.


One cannot conceive of Antarctica without thinking of penguins. The most known of them are the imperial and the Adélie penguins. Penguins cannot fly but they swim and dive perfectly. The depth record achieved by the imperial penguin is 265 metres. Imperial penguins are the largest. They are 120 cm in height and weigh 60 kg. The male takes upon itself the care for offspring. The female lays one egg in the midst of the Antarctic winter, in May or June. For two months, the male hatches the egg holding it on its fins and covering it with a fat fold. During this time it does not eat anything. After the chick is hatched, the female starts caring for the baby penguin while the male moves towards the ocean to find food and fatten.

There is no population in Antarctica. People come here seasonally. They live and work at polar stations.

In 1959, twelve participating states of the International Geophysical Year concluded an agreement on Antarctica. It provides for the use of the ice-covered continent for peaceful purposes only.


When travelling to Antarctica, one can enjoy the sight of icebergs. The word “iceberg” is of Scandinavian origin and means “ice mount”.

The process of iceberg formation lasts for tens and hundreds of years. Under the influence of its own gravity, the continental ice gradually slides into the water. Huge pieces and even fields of ice broken off and caught by the sea currents are carried away to the ocean. Icebergs are formed mainly in Antarctica and Greenland.

About 90% of the iceberg body is under the surface of the sea. Therefore, icebergs move by the force of sea currents and not by air currents. They often float against the wind and even through ice fields that can be up to two metres thick. Due to uneven melting, icebergs happen to turn over.


Icebergs rise above the water surface on average 70 metres in the Arctic and 100 metres in the Antarctic. They reach tens and even hundreds of kilometres in length. The largest iceberg was discovered in the Antarctic waters in 1956. Its length was 385 kilometres and its width was 111 kilometres. And the highest iceberg was found near the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic in 1904. The peak of that iceberg reached 450 metres in height!

Icebergs produce a lasting impression owing to their fabulous and romantic beauty. The variety of forms of the ice giants amazes the viewers’ imagination. Some icebergs have deep tunnels and caves caused by the sea water or inherited from the glacier that generated them. The caves are often very beautiful being located inside the iceberg, they are real masterpieces of Nature.

But flat or so-called tabular icebergs are actually more numerous. They are called so because of their perfectly flat surface. Tabular icebergs break off the ice shelves of Antarctica. The height of the above-water part of these icebergs in the Antarctic basin does not exceed 25 metres, the underwater part is six times larger than the above-water section.


Pyramidal icebergs have a much larger height – up to 100 metres. Their horizontal dimensions are smaller than those of the tabular ones: their length rarely exceeds 2 kilometres and their width is about 1 kilometre.

Icebergs come in different sizes. Smaller ones have 5-10 metres in diameter and are called “growlers” by seamen. Big icebergs with a diameter of 100 and more metres occur much more often. Some of them have 1000 metres in diameter.

The existence time of icebergs in the Arctic region is up to 4 years, and in the Antarctic region – up to 10 years and more. If the iceberg is blue, it is likely more than 1000 years old. Icebergs gradually reach warm latitudes where they melt. The East-Greenland and the Labrador currents carry Greenlandic icebergs to 40 -50 north latitude and even further. Antarctic icebergs reach 45 -60 south latitude.