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The Antarctic

The Antarctic, the polar region around the Earth’s South Pole, comprises the continent of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, which cover respectively nearly a tenth of the Earth’s landmass and a tenth of its sea area. Antarctica is the last great wilderness and the world’s least explored territory. It does not belong to any country and has no indigenous population. Antarctica occupies a vast region 1.5 times as large as China, and only about 1% of its landmass is ice-free. The Southern Ocean, among the planet’s most pristine waters, is rich in fish, minerals and scientific potential.

Antarctica, as geological and geophysical data suggest, was an integral part of the former supercontinent of Gondwana (see ‘Antarctic Geology in Relation to Mineral Resource Potential’ section), and therefore is of great geological interest to plate tectonics specialists. The relatively undisturbed nature of the polar region also provides a baseline for scientific studies, particularly for meteorological and climatic studies, global environmental studies, and studies seeking to explain the origins of the universe and of life on our own planet.

The Antarctic Treaty (see ‘Antarctic Treaty System and Environmental Protocol’ section), seeks to protect the values of the Antarctic. These include the natural environment and associated ecosystems, its wilderness and aesthetic values, and its value as an area where scientific research can be conducted.

Geographical map of Antarctica Tourists flock to Antarctica during the austral summer, the only time when the continent is accessible. They mostly travel through Argentina and Chile, the closest inhabited countries to Antarctica. Some tourists may also arrive from other countries in the Southern Hemisphere, notably Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

For further interests, more information is available from The Antarctic of our sustainability hub.

#Antarctic Development #Contested Antarctica

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Yasumoto International Academic Park 8/F
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, NT, Hong Kong
3943 9632
Opening hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday, Sunday, Public Holidays and University Holidays
(24th and 31st December, and Lunar New Year Eve): Closed