Nomans Land (Massachusetts)
Nomans Land, is an uninhabited island 612 acres in size, located in the town of Chilmark, Dukes County, Massachusetts. It is situated about 3 miles off the southwest corner of the island of Martha's Vineyard; the island was used by the United States Navy as a practice bombing range from 1943 to 1996. In 1998, the Navy transferred the island to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for use as an unstaffed wildlife refuge. Due to safety risks from unexploded ordnance and its value as a wildlife habitat, the island is closed to all public use. In 1602, during the British ship Concord's exploration of Cape Cod, Captain Bartholomew Gosnold named Nomans Land "Martha's Vineyard" after his eldest daughter, Martha. However, the name was transferred to the larger island known as Martha's Vineyard, located northeast of Nomans Land; the island was named "Nomans Land" after a Martha's Vineyard Wampanoag sachem, who had jurisdiction over the island when the English came in the early 17th century: named from "TequeNoman's Land".
An entail of 1695 mentions that William Nicoll of Islip Grange, Long Island, New York owned the Island of Normans Land near "Martins Vineyard" recalling the fact that on December 19, 1685 Gov. Dongan, Lord of the Manor of Martha's Vineyard had made Nicoll his Steward there. An airfield was constructed by the U. S. Navy on the southern edge of the island between November 1942 and May 1944, the island was used, beginning in World War II, as Nomans Land Range for 53 years, 1943-1996; the airfield was abandoned by the U. S. Navy sometime between 1945 and 1954, though usage as a bombing range continued until 1996. In 1952 the island was sold by the Crane family to the Navy; the eastern third of the island has been managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service since 1975. Following an effort to clear the island of ordnance in 1997 and 1998, the rest of the island was transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service for use as a wildlife refuge for migratory birds. Banks, Charles E.. The History of Martha's Vineyard.
II. Blocks 3059 and 3060, Block Group 3, Census Tract 2004, Dukes County United States Census Bureau Nomans Land Island National Wildlife Refuge at the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service site James W. Mavor Jr.: The Nomans Runestone & Skywatching Shrines NEARA
The Himalayas, or Himalaya, form a mountain range in Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many including the highest, Mount Everest; the Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia is 6,961 m tall. Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km long, its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River; the Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the Hindu Kush ranges. To the north, the chain is separated from the Tibetan Plateau by a 50–60 km wide tectonic valley called the Indus-Tsangpo Suture. Towards the south the arc of the Himalaya is ringed by the low Indo-Gangetic Plain.
The range varies in width from 350 km in the west to 150 km in the east. The Himalayas are distinct from the other great ranges of central Asia, although sometimes the term'Himalaya' is loosely used to include the Karakoram and some of the other ranges; the Himalayas are inhabited by 52.7 million people, are spread across five countries: Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. Some of the world's major rivers – the Indus, the Ganges and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra – rise in the Himalayas, their combined drainage basin is home to 600 million people; the Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the region, helping to keep the monsoon rains on the Indian plain and limiting rainfall on the Tibetan plateau. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of the Indian subcontinent; the name of the range derives from himá and ā-laya. They are now known as the "Himalaya Mountains" shortened to the "Himalayas", they were described in the singular as the Himalaya. This was previously transcribed Himmaleh, as in Emily Dickinson's poetry and Henry David Thoreau's essays.
The mountains are known as the Himālaya in Nepali and Hindi, the Himalaya or'The Land of Snow' in Tibetan, the Hamaleh Mountain Range in Urdu and the Ximalaya Mountain Range in Chinese. In the middle of the great curve of the Himalayan mountains lie the 8,000 m peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in Nepal, separated by the Kali Gandaki Gorge; the gorge splits the Himalayas into Western and Eastern sections both ecologically and orographically – the pass at the head of the Kali Gandaki, the Kora La is the lowest point on the ridgeline between Everest and K2. To the east of Annapurna are the 8,000 m peaks of Manaslu and across the border in Tibet, Shishapangma. To the south of these lies Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the Himalayas. East of the Kathmandu Valley lies valley of the Bhote/Sun Kosi river which rises in Tibet and provides the main overland route between Nepal and China – the Araniko Highway/China National Highway 318. Further east is the Mahalangur Himal with four of the world's six highest mountains, including the highest: Cho Oyu, Everest and Makalu.
The Khumbu region, popular for trekking, is found here on the south-western approaches to Everest. The Arun river drains the northern slopes of these mountains, before turning south and flowing through the range to the east of Makalu. In the far east of Nepal, the Himalayas rise to the Kanchenjunga massif on the border with India, the third highest mountain in the world, the most easterly 8,000 m summit and the highest point of India; the eastern side of Kanchenjunga is in the Indian state of Sikkim. An independent Kingdom, it lies on the main route from India to Lhasa, which passes over the Nathu La pass into Tibet. East of Sikkim lies the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan; the highest mountain in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum, a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The Himalayas here are becoming rugged with forested steep valleys; the Himalayas continue, turning northeast, through the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh as well as Tibet, before reaching their easterly conclusion in the peak of Namche Barwa, situated in Tibet inside the great bend of the Yarlang Tsangpo river.
On the other side of the Tsangpo, to the east, are the Kangri Garpo mountains. The high mountains to the north of the Tsangpo including Gyala Peri, are sometimes included in the Himalayas. Going west from Dhaulagiri, Western Nepal is somewhat remote and lacks major high mountains, but is home to Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal; the Karnali River cuts through the center of the region. Further west, the border with India follows the Sarda River and provides a trade route into China, where on the Tibetan plateau lies the high peak of Gurla Mandhata. Just across Lake Manasarovar from this lies the sacred Mount Kailash, which stands close to the source of the four main rivers of Himalayas and is revered in Hinduism, Sufism and Bonpo. In the newly created Indian state of Uttarkhand, the Himalayas rise again as the Garhwal Himalayas with the high peaks of Nanda Devi and Kamet; the state is an important pilgrimage destination, with
Palmyra Atoll is one of the Northern Line Islands, located due south of the Hawaiian Islands one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The nearest continent is 3,355 miles to the northeast; the atoll is 4.6 sq mi, it is located in the equatorial Northern Pacific Ocean. Its 9 mi of coastline has one anchorage known as West Lagoon. Palmyra Atoll is an unoccupied equatorial Northern Pacific atoll administered as an unorganized incorporated territory, the only one of its kind, by the United States federal government; the 4.6-square-mile territory hosts a variable temporary population of 4–25 "non-occupants", namely staff and scientists employed by various departments of the U. S. government and by The Nature Conservancy, as well as a rotating mix of Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium scholars pursuing research. Portions of the atoll are administered by the Department of the Interior's Office of Insular Affairs. Palmyra Atoll is one of the islands in the U. S. Minor Outlying Islands; the atoll consists of an extensive reef, two shallow lagoons, some 50 sand and reef-rock islets and bars covered with vegetation—mostly coconut palms and tall Pisonia trees.
The islets of the atoll are connected. Sand Island and the two Home Islets in the west and Barren Island in the east are not; the largest island is Cooper Island in the north, followed by Kaula Island in the south. The northern arch of islets is formed by Strawn Island, Cooper Island, Aviation Island, Quail Island, Whippoorwill Island, followed in the east by Eastern Island, Papala Island and Pelican Island, in the south by Bird Island, Holei Island, Engineer Island, Tanager Island, Marine Island, Kaula Island, Paradise Island, the Home Islets and Sand Island. Palmyra Atoll is in the Samoa Time Zone, the same time zone as American Samoa, Midway Atoll, Kingman Reef and Jarvis Island. In The Insular Cases, the Supreme Court held incorporated territories to be integral parts of the United States, as opposed to unincorporated territories being possessions. Technically, the incorporated United States Territory of Palmyra Island has the southernmost point of the incorporated United States of America, with its southernmost shore at 5°52'15" N latitude.
U. S.-controlled territories such as American Samoa are farther south, but they are not incorporated territories of the country. Average annual rainfall is 175 in per year. Temperatures average 85 °F year round; the atoll has the highest oceanicity index and lowest diurnal and annual temperature variation of any place on earth. Although Palmyra is a coral atoll with several islets, not a single island, it has been called Palmyra Island since the first visit in 1802. More it is for some purposes called Palmyra Atoll; the name of the federal territory retained by Congress since 1959 is Palmyra Island, but the official name of the National Wildlife Refuge within the territory is Palmyra Atoll, as is the corresponding division of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The formal deeds and federal orders for land there call it Palmyra Island. Further, the islets on the atoll are named Island, such as Kaula Island, Cooper Island, etc. Palmyra is an incorporated territory of the United States, meaning that it is subject to all provisions of the U.
S. Constitution and is permanently under American sovereignty. However, since Palmyra is an unorganized territory, there is no Act of Congress specifying how Palmyra should be governed. Palmyra has no permanent residents; the only relevant federal law gives the President the authority to administer Palmyra as directed, or via the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. The issue of the governing of Palmyra is a moot point, since there is no permanent population remaining there, nor any reason to think that there will be in the future. Cooper Island and ten other land parcels in this atoll are owned by The Nature Conservancy, Inc. which manages them as a nature reserve. The southwesternmost islets, including Home, are owned by descendants of former Palmyra owner Henry Ernest Cooper and others; the rest of Palmyra is federal land and waters under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since Palmyra has no state or local government, it is administered directly from Honolulu by the U.
S. Fish and Wildlife Service, except for some submerged tracts administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, both in the U. S. Department of the Interior. For all other purposes, Palmyra is counted as one of the U. S. Minor Outlying Islands, they have no customs duties. Palmyra land was registered in Hawaii Land Court in 1912. In 1959, the rest of the federal Territory of Hawaii, excluding Palmyra and the Stewart Islands, became the state of Hawaii. Hawaii Land Court lost jurisdiction over Palmyra land. Instead, Palmyra land documents are recorded in federal court in Honolulu. Palmyra Atoll was part of the Kingdom of Hawaii, because of this, the Hawaiian sovereignty movement considers Palmyra Atoll to be under illegal U. S. occupation along with the rest of Hawaii. At the overthrow of the Kingdom, the land belonged to F. W. Wundenberg, William Hope and William Ringer.
Bouvet Island is an uninhabited subantarctic high island and dependency of Norway located in the South Atlantic Ocean at 54°25′S 3°22′E, thus locating it north of and outside the Antarctic Treaty System. It lies at the southern end of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is the most remote island in the world 1,700 kilometres north of the Princess Astrid Coast of Queen Maud Land, Antarctica, 1,160 kilometres east of the South Sandwich Islands and 2,600 kilometres south-southwest of the coast of South Africa; the island has an area of 49 square kilometres. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an inactive volcano; some skerries and one smaller island, Larsøya, lie along the coast. Nyrøysa, created by a rock slide in the late 1950s, is the only easy place to land and is the location of a weather station; the island was first spotted on 1 January 1739 by Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, on a French exploration mission in the South Atlantic with the ships Aigle and Marie. They did not make a landfall, he mislabeled the coordinates for the island and the island was not sighted again until 1808, when the British whaler captain James Lindsay named it Lindsay Island.
The first claim of landing, although disputed, was by American sailor Benjamin Morrell. In 1825, the island was claimed for the British Crown by George Norris, who named it Liverpool Island, he reported Thompson Island as nearby, although this was shown to be a phantom island. The first Norvegia expedition claimed it for Norway. At this time the island was named "Bouvetøya" in Norwegian. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930, it became a nature reserve in 1971. The island was discovered on 1 January 1739 by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, commander of the French ships Aigle and Marie. Bouvet, searching for a presumed large southern continent, spotted the island through the fog and named the cape he saw Cap de la Circoncision, he was not able to land and did not circumnavigate his discovery, thus not clarifying if it was an island or part of a continent. His plotting of its position was inaccurate, leading several expeditions to fail to find the island again.
James Cook's second voyage set off from Cape Verde on 22 November 1772 to find Cape Circoncision, but was unable to find the cape. The next expedition to spot the island was in 1808 by James Lindsay, captain of the Samuel Enderby & Sons' snow whaler Swan. Swan and another Enderby whaler, Otter were in company when they reached the island and recorded its position, though they were unable to land. Lindsay could confirm; the next expedition to arrive at the island was American Benjamin Morrell and his seal hunting ship Wasp. Morrell, by his own account, found the island without difficulty before landing and hunting 196 seals. In his subsequent lengthy description, Morrell does not mention the island's most obvious physical feature, its permanent ice cover; this has caused some commentators to doubt whether he visited the island. On 10 December 1825, SE&S's George Norris, master of the Sprightly, landed on the island, named it Liverpool Island and claimed it for the British Crown and George IV on 16 December.
The next expedition to spot the island was Joseph Fuller and his ship Francis Allyn in 1893, but he was not able to land on the island. German Carl Chun's Valdivia expedition arrived at the island in 1898, they dredged the seabed for geological samples. They were the first to fix the island's position. At least three sealing vessels visited the island between 1822 and 1895. A voyage of exploration in 1927-28 took seal pelts. Norris spotted a second island in 1825, which he named Thompson Island, which he placed 72 kilometres north-northeast of Liverpool Island. Thompson Island was reported in 1893 by Fuller, but in 1898 Chun did not report seeing such an island, nor has anyone since. However, Thompson Island continued to appear on maps as late as 1943. A 1967 paper suggested that the island might have disappeared in an undetected volcanic eruption, but in 1997 it was discovered that the ocean is more than 2,400 metres deep in the area. In 1927, the First Norvegia Expedition – led by Harald Horntvedt and financed by Lars Christensen – was the first to make an extended stay on the island.
Observations and surveying were conducted on the islands and oceanographic measurements performed in the sea around it. At Ny Sandefjord, a small hut was erected and, on 1 December, the Norwegian flag was hoisted and the island claimed for Norway; the annexation was established by a royal decree on 23 January 1928. The claim was protested by the United Kingdom, on the basis of Norris's landing and annexation. However, the British position was weakened by Norris's sighting of two islands and the uncertainty as to whether he had been on Thompson or Liverpool Island. Norris's positioning deviating from the correct location combined with the island's small size and lack of a natural harbour made the UK accept the Norwegian claim; this resulted in diplomatic negotiations between the two countries, in November 1929, Britain renounced its claim to the island. The Second Norvegia Expedition arrived in 1928 with the intent of establishing a manned meteorological radio station, but a suitable location could not be found.
By both the flagpole and hut from the previous year had been washed away. The Third Norvegia Expedition, led by Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, arrived the following year and built a new hut at Kapp
Navassa Island is a small uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea. Located northeast of Jamaica, south of Cuba, 40 nautical miles west of Jérémie on the south west peninsula of Haiti, the island is subject to an ongoing territorial dispute between Haiti and the United States, which administers it through the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service; the U. S. has claimed the island since 1857, based on the Guano Islands Act of 1856. Haiti's claim over Navassa goes back to the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 that established French possessions in mainland Hispaniola, that were transferred from Spain by the treaty; as well as the western half of the main island and certain other named nearby islands, Haiti's 1801 constitution claimed "other adjacent islands". Navassa was not one of the named islands. Since its 1874 Constitution, after the establishment of the 1857 U. S. claim, Haiti has explicitly named "la Navase" as one of the territories. Navassa Island is about 2 square miles in area, it is located 35 miles west of Haiti's southwest peninsula, 103 miles south of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay and about one-quarter of the way from mainland Haiti to Jamaica in the Jamaica Channel.
Navassa reaches an elevation of 250 feet at Dunning Hill 110 yards south of the lighthouse, Navassa Island Light. This location is 440 655 yards east of Lulu Bay; the terrain of Navassa Island consists of exposed coral and limestone, the island being ringed by vertical white cliffs 30 to 50 feet high, but with enough grassland to support goat herds. The island is covered in a forest of four tree species: short-leaf fig, pigeon plum and poisonwood. Navassa Island's topography and modern history are similar to that of Mona Island, a small limestone island located in the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which were once centers of guano mining, are nature reserves for the United States. Transient Haitian fishermen and others camp on the island but the island is otherwise uninhabited, it has no ports or harbors, only offshore anchorages, its only natural resource is guano. Economic activity consists of subsistence fishing and commercial trawling activities. There were eight species of native reptiles, all of which are believed to be, or to have been, endemic to Navassa Island: Celestus badius, Aristelliger cochranae, Sphaerodactylus becki, Anolis longiceps, Cyclura onchiopsis, Leiocephalus eremitus, Tropidophis bucculentus, Typhlops sulcatus.
Of these the first four remain common with the last four extinct. Feral cats and pigs inhabit the island. In 2012, a rare coral species was found underwater near Navassa Island; the coral was found to be in good condition. In 1504, Christopher Columbus, stranded on Jamaica during his fourth voyage, sent some crew members by canoe to Hispaniola for help, they ran into the island on the way. They called it Navaza, it was avoided by mariners for the next 350 years. From 1801 to 1867 the successive constitutions of Haiti claimed vaguely national sovereignty over adjacent islands, both named and unnamed, although Navassa was not enumerated until 1874. Navassa Island, had been claimed for the United States on September 19, 1857 by Peter Duncan, an American sea captain, under the Guano Islands Act of 1856, for the rich guano deposits found on the island, for not being within the lawful jurisdiction of any other government, nor occupied by another government's citizens. Haiti protested the annexation, but on July 7, 1858, U.
S. President James Buchanan issued an Executive Order upholding the American claim, which called for military action to enforce it. Navassa Island has since been maintained by the United States as an unincorporated territory; the United States Supreme Court on November 24, 1890, in Jones v. United States, 137 U. S. 202 Id. at 224 found that Navassa Island must be considered as appertaining to the United States, creating a legal history for the island under US law unlike many other islands claimed under the Guano Islands Act. As listed in its 1987 constitution, Haiti maintains its claim to the island. Guano phosphate is a superior organic fertilizer that became a mainstay of American agriculture in the mid-19th century. Duncan transferred his discoverer's rights to his employer, an American guano trader in Jamaica, who sold them to the newly formed Navassa Phosphate Company of Baltimore. After an interruption for the American Civil War, the company built larger mining facilities on Navassa with barrack housing for 140 black contract laborers from Maryland, houses for white supervisors, a blacksmith shop, a church.
Mining began in 1865. The workers dug out the guano by dynamite and pick-axe and hauled it in rail cars to the landing point at Lulu Bay, where it was put into sacks and lowered onto boats for transfer to the Company barque, the S. S. Romance; the living quarters at Lulu Bay were called Lulu Town. Railway tracks extended inland. Hauling guano by muscle-power in the fierce tropical heat, combined with general disgruntlement with conditions on the island provoked a rebellion in 1889, in which five supervisors died. A U. S. warshi
Clipperton Island is an uninhabited 6 km2 coral atoll in the eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central America. It is 10,677 kilometres away from Paris, France, 5,400 km from Papeete, 1,081 km from Mexico, it is an overseas minor territory of France, under direct authority of the Minister of Overseas France. The atoll is 1,080 km south-west of Mexico, 2,424 km west of Nicaragua, 2,545 km west of Costa Rica and 2,260 km north-west of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, at 10°18′N 109°13′W. Clipperton is about 945 km south-east of Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, the nearest land, it is low-lying and barren, with some scattered grasses and a few clumps of coconut palms. Land elevations average 2 m, though a small volcanic outcrop rising to 29 m on its south-east side is higher and is referred to as "Clipperton Rock"; the surrounding reef is exposed at low tide. The presence of this rock means that technically Clipperton is not an atoll but an island with a barrier reef. Clipperton has had no permanent inhabitants since 1945.
It is visited on occasion by fishermen, French Navy patrols, scientific researchers, film crews, shipwreck survivors. It has become a popular site for transmissions by ham radio operators. Clipperton has a ring-shaped atoll which encloses a stagnant freshwater lagoon, is 12 km in circumference; the lagoon is devoid of fish, contains some deep basins with depths of 43 and 72 m, including a spot known as Trou-Sans-Fond, or "the bottomless hole", with acidic water at its base. The water is described as being fresh at the surface, eutrophic. Seaweed beds cover 45 percent of the lagoon's surface; the rim averages 150 m in width, reaching 400 m in the west and narrows to 45 m in the north-east, where sea waves spill over into the lagoon. While some sources have rated the lagoon water as non-potable, testimony from the crew of the tuna clipper M/V Monarch, stranded for 23 days in 1962 after their boat sank, indicates otherwise, their report reveals that the lagoon water, while not tasting good, was drinkable, though "muddy and dirty".
Several of the castaways drank it, with no apparent ill effects. Survivors of an ill-fated Mexican military colony in 1917 indicated that they were dependent upon rain for their water supply, catching it in old boats they used for this purpose. Aside from the lagoon and water caught from rain, no other freshwater sources are known to exist, it has a tropical oceanic climate, with average temperatures of 20–32 °C. The rainy season occurs from May to October, when it is subject to tropical hurricanes. Surrounding ocean waters are warm, pushed by counter-equatorial currents, it has no known natural resources. Although 115 species of fish have been identified in nearby waters the only economic activity in the area is tuna fishing; when Snodgrass and Heller visited in 1898, they reported that "no land plant is native to the island". Historical accounts from 1711, 1825 and 1839 show suffrutescent flora. During Sachet's visit in 1958, the vegetation was found to consist of a sparse cover of spiny grass and low thickets, a creeping plant, stands of coconut palm.
This low-lying herbaceous flora seems to be a pioneer in nature, most of it is believed to be composed of introduced species. Sachet suspected that Heliotropium curassavicum and Portulaca oleracea were native. Coconut palms and pigs were introduced in the 1890s by guano miners; the pigs reduced the crab population, which in turn allowed grassland to cover about 80 percent of the land surface. The elimination of these pigs in 1958—the result of a personal project by Kenneth E. Stager—has caused most of this vegetation to disappear as millions of land crabs have returned; the result is a sandy desert, with only 674 palms counted by Christian Jost during the "Passion 2001" French mission, five islets in the lagoon with grass that the terrestrial crabs cannot reach. On the north-west side the most abundant plant species are Cenchrus echinatus, Sida rhombifolia, Corchorus aestuans; these plants compose a shrub cover up to 30 cm in height and are intermixed with Eclipta and Solanum, as well as a taller plant, Brassica juncea.
A unique feature is that the vegetation is arranged in parallel rows of species, with dense rows of taller species alternating with lower, more open vegetation. This was assumed to be a result of the phosphate mining method of trench-digging; the only land animals known to exist are two species of reptiles, bright-orange land crabs and rats, the rats arriving from large fishing boats that were wrecked on the island in 1999 and 2000. Bird species include white terns, masked boobies, sooty terns, brown boobies, brown noddies, black noddies, great frigatebirds, martins and yellow warblers. Ducks have been reported in the lagoon; the island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of the large breeding colony of masked boobies, with 110,000 individual birds recorded. The lagoon harbours. A 2005 report by the NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Scien
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent. For comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland; the temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the third quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, plants and certain animals, such as mites, penguins and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf; the continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of accessible resources, isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed. Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, thirty-eight have signed it since then; the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, protects the continent's ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations; the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning "opposite to the Arctic", "opposite to the north".
Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c. 350 BC Marinus of Tyre used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius used for the South Pole the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived the Old French pole antartike attested in 1270, from there the Middle English pol antartik in a 1391 technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for other locations that could be defined as "opposite to the north". For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called "France Antarctique"; the first formal use of the name "Antarctica" as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. The long-imagined south polar continent was called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to'Australia' as seen in a woodcut illustration titled Sphere of the winds, contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545.
Although the longer Latin phrase was better known, the shortened name Australia was used in Europe's scholarly circles. In the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities in Sydney removed the Dutch name from New Holland. Instead of inventing a new name to replace it, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving it nameless for some eighty years. During that period, geographers had to make do with clumsy phrases such as "the Antarctic Continent", they searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Antipodea. Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s. Antarctica has no indigenous population, there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, in February 1775, during his second voyage, Captain Cook called the existence of such a polar continent "probable" and in another copy of his journal he wrote:" believe it and it's more than probable that we have seen a part of it". However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe and North Africa—had prevailed since the times of Ptolemy in the 1st century AD.
In the late 17th century, after explorers had found that South America and Australia were not part of the fabled "Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger than its actual size. Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia, he justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will be found in a more southern latitude.