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Antartica is the least inhabited continent and is situated generally around the South Pole. It is almost entirely covered in snow, although ironically much of the land mass is desert. Aside from a few scientific outposts Antarctica is uninhabited. Most Americans that do visit Antarctica arrive via New Zealand.

Antarctica is a valuable research location for climatological studies. Scientists study a seasonal hole in the ozone layer that appears over the continent. Researchers also examine core samples from thick Antarctic ice fields to help predict global warming trends. NASA conducts studies on the continent to prepare for space exploration missions. (Antarctica's climate and terrain are not altogether unlike certain colder planets and moons.)

A United Nations treaty protects Antarctica from commercial exploitation, although ecotourism is a growing phenomenon in and around the South Pole. Because of the treaty no nation "owns" Antarctica.

See Also

  • ANWR (which is on the coast of the Arctic Ocean near the North Pole)
  • Arctic Ocean (near the North Pole)
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