Antarctica is a desert continent, located in the very South of the Earth (the center of Antarctica approximately coincides with the center of the South pole) and occupying about 14 million square kilometers. Wash the mainland waters of the southern ocean. Antarctica was opened on 28 January 1820 by the Russian expedition under the leadership of F. Bellingshausen and M. Lazarev.
Since the middle of XX century began the study of Antarctica on an industrial basis: different countries are many permanent bases, which are year-round carry out meteorological, glaciological and geological studies. Almost 95% of the area of the continent is ice armor, the average thickness of which is 2300 meters in some regions of East Antarctica this number twice. This shell contains about 90 % of all the earth's fresh water reserves.