On which of Earth’s continents will you find most of the planet’s fresh water?
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, over 68 percent of Earth’s fresh water supply is located in ice caps and glaciers, with just over 30 percent found in groundwater. The thick ice sheet covering Antarctica is the largest solid mass of ice on the planet. This singular, enormous frozen structure contains about 90 percent of the fresh water on planet Earth. When taken as a whole (including water found in underground aquifers), only a fraction of a percent of freshwater is found in surface waters such as rivers, lakes, swamps and ponds.
Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. Most cruises to the continent visit the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches toward South America. It’s known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor, striking, iceberg-flanked passageways, and Port Lockroy, a former British research station turned museum. The peninsula’s isolated terrain also shelters rich wildlife, including many penguins.
Area: 14 million km²
Population: 5,000 temporary residents
Internet TLD: .aq
Largest cities: Research stations in Antarctica