SOUTH POLE 1911-2011
From 25 October 2011 to 15 January 2012
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TWO MEN, ONE GOAL
ANTARCTICA
Antarctica

The Antarctic continent can be considered the most special and most extreme in the world for many reasons: It is the coldest, windiest, darkest and driest of all continents.

Antarctica is also magical for geopolitical reasons. Despite territorial claims by different countries, does not really belong to any state, any nation ruled this land. In the year 1959 was signed the "Antarctic Treaty", as a multinational agreement under which may only be used for exclusively peaceful purposes and for the free exchange of scientific information. This implies a total ban on military activities and mining. There are nations that still maintain their own bases, but the research projects carried out, typically include staff from different countries, and all data recorded by weather stations available, are freely shared.

Only for this reason, is a magical area of our planet, and a great example that man also knows how to collaborate and not be always greed by his predatory instinct. So, even though geologists are fully cognizant of the existence of important natural resources like coal, oil, gold, platinum and copper, at an international conference held in 1991, all signatories of the treaty agreed to ban the mining until at least 2048. Meanwhile, the main activity carried out in Antarctica is scientific.

The Antarctic continent is covered by an average thick ice layer of 2.5km. It involves the largest reservoir of ice in the world, estimated to be 80% of the world's sweet water. It is a land more arid than the Sahara (the largest dry desert in the world), and as cold and uninhabitable as Mars. There is only life in the first mile around the coast, where there are marine animals (penguins, seals, etc...), and from there do not live anything.

In the warmer months the temperature never exceeds 0°C, and the usual cooler month reach -70/-80ºC. The coldest temperature ever recorded on earth was measured at the Russian base Vostok in the year 1983, with -89.3°C. Annual precipitation (as snow), are very scarce, but the little that comes down, is never melt down.

But this should not make us think it's a boring and uninteresting land. There are not places like Antarctica, a wild place that offers unparalleled imaging for scientists and explorers of the land operation: active volcanoes, glaciers that move at exceptional speeds, ice sheets moving inexorably toward the coast, the katabatics winds that blow from the polar plateau at speeds up to 300km./h, the world's most violent storms hit the islands near the Antarctic Peninsula. In contrast, although the interior is absolutely sterile vacuum, the glacial waters that surround it are among the richest and most diverse on the planet.

The continental land of Antarctica has 14 million square kilometers, which more than doubled in the freezing winter coastal waters. By reducing the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide carried out by the ocean, and interrupting the heat exchange between ocean and atmosphere, the coastal patch develops a critical role in shaping the climate of the region, which in turn exerts a major impact on much of the planet.
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