One of the coldest and most uninhabited places in the world is also one of breath taking beauty. The white continent of antartica is the fifth largest continent in the world and covers the south pole .It wasn’t until 1820 that this continent was first discovered. Also a cold desert situated within the antarctic circle and surrounded by southern ocean the continent stretches over 14 million sq kms . Of this 98% is covered with thick ice sheets antartica has 70 % of all the world’s freshwater frozen as ice and 90 % of worlds ice . In fact the antarctic ice sheet is the single largest mass of ice on the planet . The remaining 2 % of ice free areas are where you would find research stations which are about 4000 in short summer and 1000 in winter . In 1983 antarctica recorded the lowest ever temperature on earth of -89 c . The continent is witness to many unusual spectacles. Like the aurora australis a curtain of red or green light that appears in the sky . Another beautiful phenomenon is diamond dust . This occurs when water vapour condenses in the cold air and forms tiny ice crystals . When the sun rays glint off these crystals as they fall to the ground it presents a lovely sight . Hiding under the antarctic ice is an entire freshwater lake . Lake vostok is buried beneath 3.7 kilometers of solid ice . This world of ice and snow is a nestling ground for variety of wildlife. Like migratory birds , penguins and many marine animals like seal , whales , krill and fish . Penguins are most common bird in antarctica and live in large colonies . Each of these animals have different adaptive features for surviving the continents extreme cold . The lack of moisture and low temperature make it hard for plants to grow . There are no trees or shrubs and only two species of flowering plants are known to grow here . However some species of lichen , moss and algae that can survive the hash conditions are found here . Like the artic to the north most of the continent is completely dark during the winter . But during summer more sunlight reaches the south pole than over a similar duration at the equator.