What are some famous landmarks in Antarctica?

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say that one of the most famous locations in Antarctica is the South Pole.  Granted, it's not an impressive looking natural feature, but there are only two locations on Earth where you can stand on the rotational axis of the planet. 

If you are into mountain climbing, then chances are that you've heard of the "Seven Summits" challenge.  People that have completed this task have climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents.  Antarctica's highest peak is Vinson Massif.  It's highest point is 16,050 feet, and it was first climbed in 1966.  

Probably more famous than Vinson Massif is the Ross Ice Shelf.  Ice shelves are permanent floating ice sheets.  They are fed by glaciers and are also attached to the land. The Rose Ice Shelf is big. In total area, it's roughly the size of France.  Some of the ice is nearly 3,000 feet thick, and the cliffs at the water's edge are about 200 feet tall.  

Antarctica is home to 25 volcanoes, but only two of them are active.  The first is Deception Island.  The second is Mount Erebus. Mount Erubus is a tall volcano.  It stands at an impressive 12,448 feet; however, it is the second tallest volcano on the continent.  The tallest volcano on Antarctica is Mount Sidley which is over 14,000 feet in elevation. 

The McMurdo Dry Valleys is another impressive Antarctica landmark.  It is impressive because the valleys here are almost entirely free of any snow.  This area is one of the driest places on Earth, and the valleys receive on average the equivalent of only 10 cm of water per year.  Wind speeds can reach up to 320 km/hr here as well.  

Found within the McMurdo Dry Valleys is the saltiest body of water on the planet.  Don Juan Pond is a small ankle deep lake with a salinity of over 40%.  That's 18 times saltier than ocean water and twice as salty as the Dead Sea.  It's so salty that it doesn't even freeze during the harsh Antarctic winters. 

Lake Untersee is another amazing lake in Antarctica.  It's waters have extremely high pH levels.  They are between 9.8 and 12.1.  The lake is also super-oxygenated and contains higher levels of methane than any other lake on Earth. These conditions allow it to be one of the most unique habitats on Earth for microorganisms.  

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most famous landmarks in Antarctica is Vinson Massif, the highest mountain on the continent at over 16,000 feet. Mount Erebus, located on Ross Island and measuring over 12,000 feet, is the second tallest volcano in Antarctica, and it is the southernmost active volcano in the world. It also has a lava lake, which glows without stop, and an observatory managed by the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The Ross Ice Shelf, measuring 600 miles in length, is the largest ice shelf in Antarctica. It is composed of ice and attached the land and fed by a glacier. Other landmarks include research stations, such as the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, run by the United States, and the Vostok Research Station, run by Russia. Over 30 countries have research stations on Antarctica, though some are permanent, and some only run during the summer. 

choucksolace eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best known geographic landmark in Antarctica is the South Pole, the southernmost point on the planet, which was first reached by Roald Amundsen in 1911. Vinson Massif is the highest mountain on the continent while the Ross Ice Shelf is the largest floating ice formation. Ross Island is the home of the volcano Mount Erebus. The Antarctic Penninsula is the warmest part of the continent, where plant life is most abundant.