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Quiz: Do You Know Enough to Head Out Into the Wilds of Antarctica?

Whether you’re planning a real-life expedition—or you’re more of an armchair explorer—brush up on your knowledge of this remote continent

Two adorable penguins stand together on a rock in Antarctica

From fatal temperatures to extraordinary wildlife, Antarctica is a fascinating destination, though not for the faint of heart. Take our quiz and learn more about its extreme conditions.


0–33% Don’t despair. You can still explore Antarctica from the comfort of a cruise.

34–66% Sir Ernest Shackleton would have been proud to have you as his navigator.

67–100% Amazing! You must be a descendant of Roald Amundsen himself.

Want to know more about Antarctica?

Follow along on a 13-day voyage from Argentina to the White Continent in the winter 2018 issue of CAA Magazine.

Image credit: Pexels


A1. C -1.8 degrees Celsius. Because of its salt content and currents, which draw chilled water away from the surface, the ocean freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.

A2. B South polar skua. Though this large seabird feeds largely on fish, it has been observed at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, 2,835 metres above sea level and 1,600 kilometres away from the ocean.

A3. B Killer whale. In spite of their name, killer whales are actually the largest species of oceanic dolphin and can grow up to eight metres in length.

A4. D more than 10. The first person born on Antarctica was born on January 7, 1978, to Argentinian parents in an effort by Argentina to claim sovereignty over the land. Since then more than 10 additional babies have been born.

A5. D 500 metres. While the smallest penguins usually restrict their diving to less than 30 metres, others are capable of so much more. Emperor penguins can dive the deepest and have been observed diving to 535 metres.

A6. D -98 degrees Celsius. Using satellite technology, researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center recently discovered the coldest place in Antarctica. It is so cold that only a few breaths of the frigid air will cause human lungs to hemorrhage.

A7. D Toronto and Buenos Aires (8,924 kilometres). The wandering albatross can live up to 60 years and breed on Antarctic islands. They are the largest of all seabirds, with a wingspan of three metres, and have been known to fly 10,000 kilometres in just 10 days.

A8. D Neanderthals. Antarctica was surprisingly lush 250 million years ago. As a result, many fossils, including pollen, gingko, pines, ferns and dinosaurs have been discovered there—but sadly, no Neanderthals.

A9. D 70 per cent because it’s so large. The Antarctic Ice Sheet covers 98 per cent of the continent and is more than four kilometres thick in places. If all the ice were to melt, the ocean would rise by more than 60 metres.

A10. A Hobart, Australia. Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole on December 14, 1911, then sailed to Hobart, Australia, where he sent a telegraph announcing the news.

A11. B Antarctic sponge. The colossal squid only lives for about three years, and while the Patagonian toothfish and killer whale are relatively long-lived, at around a maximum of 50 and 100 years, respectively, the Antarctic sponge can live for up to 1,550 years.

A12. A Unusually high wind. Cold air flows from higher to lower elevation in a phenomenon known as katabatic winds. They can reach more than 300 km/h—higher than a Category 5 hurricane.