What's life like in the coldest place on Earth? Take the Antarctica quiz!


Humans didn't set foot on Antarctica until 1821 and it wasn't until the beginning of the 20th century that land expeditions truly began to explore the continent. Take the quiz to find some surprises behind the coldest continent!

start quiz

Question 1 of 20

What's the average annual temperature in Antarctica?

minus 11 F (minus 24 C)
minus 22 F (minus 30 C)
minus 53 F (minus 47 C)

... The average temperature in Antarctica is minus 22 Fahrenheit (minus 24 Celsius). This is because the coastal areas have an average temperature of 14 F. Though the temperature is the interior of Antarctica is much lower (an annual average of minus 58 F), the average of the two gives you a "balmy" minus 22 F.


Question 2 of 20

Are there insects in Antarctica?

There aren't any now, but there were plenty before global warming.
No; it's too cold for insects to survive.
Yes, there are many species of insects in Antarctica.

... There are more than 60 identified species of insects living in Antarctica. Most of the insects are parasites and live on the skin and fur of animals such as seals.


Question 3 of 20

How big is Antarctica?

twice the size of New York State
twice the size of France
twice the size of Australia

... Antarctica is about 5,400,000 square miles (13,985,936 square kilometers), or twice the size of Australia.


Question 4 of 20

Antarctica can be classified as a ________ .


... Deserts are not only made of sand! Antarctica is technically a desert, because it receives only about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of annual precipitation in the continent's interior.


Question 5 of 20

Antarctica is the highest continent above sea level.

true and false, because it ties with another continent

... Antarctica sits an average of 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) above sea level. As a comparison, Europe's elevation is just 980 feet (299 meters) higher than sea level and North America sits at a 2,000-foot (610-meter) average.


Question 6 of 20

Antarctica does NOT have ________ .

both active and inactive volcanoes
native reptiles

... Antarctica is the only continent with no native reptiles or amphibians -- what self-respecting creature would evolve to slither and crawl along ice at those subzero temperatures?


Question 7 of 20

What's the most abundant animal found in Antarctica?

polar bears

... There are seven different species of penguins living in Antarctica and the surrounding subantarctic Islands; penguins are the most abundant animal on the coldest continent.


Question 8 of 20

What's the difference in weight between the largest and smallest species of penguin living in Antarctica?

about 11 pounds (5 kilograms)
about 33 pounds (15 kilograms)
more than 55 pounds (25 kilograms)

... The largest species of penguin in Antarctica is the emperor penguin, which can weigh up to 66 pounds (30 kilograms), and the smallest one is the rock hopper penguin, which weighs just 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg). That makes for more than 55 pounds (25 kilograms) difference -- and you thought all penguins were alike!


Question 9 of 20

Which research station is the most isolated in Antarctica?

McMurdo Station
Vostok Station
Marambio Station

... Russia's Vostok Station sits within what's known as "the Pole of Cold," where the coldest temperatures on Earth have been recorded. It's at the center of the East Antarctic ice sheet, so its interior location makes it even more remote.


Question 10 of 20

What plants live in Antarctica?

none, because the climate is too harsh

... Lichens are not the only plant to live on Antarctica, but they are the most abundant. You also can find algae and moss on snow-free areas of land.


Question 11 of 20

The average annual temperature in Antarctica might not be as low as you'd imagine, but it gets really chilly in certain areas. What's the record low recorded in Antarctica?

minus 129 F (minus 89 C)
minus 87 F (minus 66 C)
minus 69 F (minus 56 C)

... The minus 129 F (minus 89 C) was minus 128.6 to be exact, but who's counting -- or able to -- when temperatures drop that low? The reading is the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth. It happened at the Vostok station in 1983.


Question 12 of 20

How many research stations are there in Antarctica?

more than 30 permanent stations
20 permanent stations
less than five permanent ones but many summer-only stations

... Australia, Russia and the United States have the most stations each, with France, the UK, Germany, New Zealand and South Africa rounding out the total of more than 30 permanent Antarctic stations. That's right -- researchers tough it out all year long.


Question 13 of 20

Technically speaking, penguins and seals do not "live" in Antarctica; why?

because they're marine animals
because they don't have babies there
because they don't feed on land

... Penguins and seals live in the water, rather than on land. Also, both animals move south of Argentina during the depth of winter, so they're not always on Antarctica. Using that definition, there are only three species that truly live in Antarctica year-round, and all three are insects.


Question 14 of 20

What makes the Notothenioidei (Antarctic fish) special?

The fish have no hemoglobin in their blood.
They have antifreeze-like chemicals in their bodies.
They lack swim bladders.
all of the above

... The combination of these features -- no hemoglobin, antifreeze-like chemicals and no swim bladders -- make Notothenioidei suitable to survive the Arctic temperatures.


Question 15 of 20

Which of the following has been banned in Antarctica since 1994?

feeding penguins

... An international treaty agreed to ban dogs from Antarctica to protect local wildlife. There was fear that dogs might spread distemper to seals.


Question 16 of 20

How many people live in Antarctica?

100 to 200, depending on the season
more than 1,000
only a few scattered natives

... This is a bit of a trick question. Although there are technically no permanent residents in Antarctica, there are an average of 1,000 to 5,000 people in Antarctica at any given time. These are scientists, workers and researchers living in the research stations.


Question 17 of 20

The ice sheet that covers Antarctica has an average thickness of ________ .

more than 500 feet (152 meters)
about 1,000 feet (305 meters)
more than 5,000 feet (1,524 meters)

... With a 5,000-foot (1,524-meter) thick ice covering, Antarctica is home to more than 90 percent of the ice in the world.


Question 18 of 20

If all of the ice covering Antarctica melted, how much would ocean levels rise?

197 feet (60 meters)
103 feet (31 meters)
69 feet (21 meters)

... Although this is an unlikely scenario, a rise of 197 feet (60 meters) would be catastrophic and destroy every coastal city in the world. Even partial melting and rising ocean levels can have devastating effects.


Question 19 of 20

Parts of Antarctica fall into the polar circle, the area that has polar nights (nights that last for more than 24 hours.). How long is a polar night at the poles?

70 days
100 days
179 days

... A polar night can last up to 179 days at the poles, and varies in length within the Arctic and Antarctic circles, as do the kinds and amounts of twilight.


Question 20 of 20

Besides being the coldest continent, Antarctica also is the ________ continent.

most humid

... At Cape Dennison at Commonwealth Bay, the mean annual speed of the wind is 50 mph (80 kph), placing Antarctica at the top in wind as well.


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