Antarctica is a powerful land that extends around the South Pole. This most secluded continent is separated from the nearest inhabited lands by vast expanses of seas. The continent closest to Antarctica is South America. Between the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and the South Shetland Islands stretches the widest on Earth, measuring 900-1200 km Drake Strait. From New Zealand, the shores of Antarctica are more than 2000 km; the shores of Australia are even more distant, much less Africa. The isolation from the rest of the world and the nature of the surrounding seas are the main causes, for which the continent was only discovered in the 19th century. The boundary of the Antarctic zone is considered to be the extent of floating ice and the line where the warm northern waters meet the cool surface waters of the southern seas., called the convergence line (48-61° times. south). The Antarctic zone includes islands and groups of islands: Southern Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands, South Georgia, Bouvet Island, Falkland Islands, Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelena, as well as many small islands. The term Antarctica is defined as the entire area delineated by the outermost border of the packice, that is, "ice crush” (ice floe compacted into a compact mass and pieces of ice shelf ice blocks), partially occupied by the mainland, and partly by the sea.
The gulfs of the Ross Sea and the Weddell Sea run deep inland, dividing Antarctica into two main parts – East and West Antarctica. East Antarctica, which, due to its construction, also includes the entire ridge of the Ross and Weddell Seas, it is a uniform plate, almost entirely covered by the ice sheet, spod którego wystają tylko najwyższe pasma górskie i pojedyncze szczyty. Antarktyda Zachodnia jest bardziej podobna do sąsiedniej Ameryki Południowej. The mountain range of the fold system, which are referred to as the Antarctic Andes, it is probably a continuation of the South American Andes. Ice cover, thinner than in East Antarctica, it breaks down into several interconnecting bowls.
Antarctic climate, called glacial (or an icy continental climate), it is the coolest on Earth. It is characterized by cold summers and very cold winters. The lowest temperature is recorded in July, during winter in the southern hemisphere. The land glaciation contributes to its lowering, thinned air on the highlands reaching a height above 3000 m, and extremely strong winds. The decisive factor for the weather is the Antarctic high that prevails over the interior of the continent for a large part of the year, which only rarely reach the lowlands that bring rainfall.