Quizzes on Antarctica

This section, intended for a wider public, is a fun way to discover Antarctica.

We hope that you will enjoy our little quiz.

Did you know?

1/ Antarctica is located in the southern part of the globe and the Arctic in the north or is it the other way around?

This is easy! Don’t be confused: Antarctica is located in the southern part of the globe. It does not have an indigenous human population (only scientists live there during their assignments, which never last more than a few months).

The Arctic is not a continent but a region located in the northern part of the globe and in its centre is the Arctic Ocean. For centuries, indigenous peoples have lived in the northern regions of this ocean’s coastal States. 

2/ Antarctica’s area is: larger than Russia’s? Almost the same as Greenland’s? Smaller than Australia’s? Approximately 25 times larger than that of metropolitan France?

Antarctica is a slightly larger than 14,000,000 km2, which is 25 times larger than metropolitan France, and nearly twice the size of Australia (7,700,000 km2). Russia is larger than Antarctica (17, 000,000 km2) but Greenland is much smaller (2,000,000 km2).

The image that people have of Antarctica is often influenced by the Mercator projection used for most planispheres, on which Antarctica covers the entire southern part of the map and seems much larger than it actually is.

3/ Is it possible to establish military bases in Antarctica?

No, establishing military bases is expressly prohibited by the Antarctic Treaty. Article I of the Treaty clearly stipulates that “Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only”.

Among the activities expressly prohibited are the establishment of military bases and fortification, the carrying out of maneuvers as well as the testing of any types of weapons.

4/ Do the Arctic and Antarctic poles have the same legal status?

No. As the situations of the two poles are very different, their respective legal statuses are too.

Antarctica is a continent that has never been inhabited permanently by people (scientists only live there for the duration of their assignments). Its legal status, set out in the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, is very specific: military activities are prohibited, the continent is nuclear free, and territorial claims are “frozen”. In 1991, the Madrid Protocol supplemented the Treaty by designating Antarctica as a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” and by prohibiting any activity relating to mineral resources.

The legal status of the Arctic is very different. For centuries, the region has been inhabited and States in the Arctic region, like all States, pay close attention to respect for their sovereignty and their rights, such as those set out in international law and the law of the sea. 

5/ Is it possible to mine mineral resources in Antarctica?

No. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty prohibits “any activity relating to mineral resources” (Article 7). Any mining would have important consequences on Antarctic’s unique ecosystem.

6/ Ways to travel in Antarctica include (more than one right answer): in a dog sled? By snowmobile? On skis?

By snowmobile and on skis.

But also on foot, by boat and by helicopter. Skis are however not the most common way to travel, especially around Concordia Station where the snow is very different to what is found in ski resorts and where it is barely suitable for skiing.

Dogs have been banned from Antarctica since the Madrid Treaty which prohibits the introduction of non-indigenous species. So there are no dog sleds in Antarctica!

7/ Is it possible to store nuclear waste in Antarctica?

No. Article V of the Antarctic Treaty prohibits “any disposal there of radioactive waste material” in Antarctica. The Treaty also prohibits carrying out nuclear testing in Antarctica.

8/ How many tourists visited Antarctica during the 2018-2019 season?

In recent years, more and more tourists have visited Antarctica. For example, about 9,000 tourists visited during the 1995-1996 season, compared to more than 56,000 tourists in the 2018-2019 season. 

In the ATCM, work is under way to better regulate this phenomenon that could cause serious damage to Antarctic ecosystems if left unchecked.

9/ And, by the way, how many species of penguins are there?

10, 17, 21 …this number is constantly changing as scientific breakthroughs are made.

For example, in 2020, Papuan penguins were divided into four species and so the number of penguin species increased from 17 to 21. (Some scientists have recorded 22, and even 23 species.)

10/ In Antarctica, France has: One station? Two stations? No stations? Three stations?

France has two research stations in Antarctica:

  • The Dumont d’Urville Station has been in operation since 1955 on the coastal island of Adelie Earth;
  • Concordia Station, which is a French-Italian station, 1,100 km inland (first winter in 2005).

11/ It is possible to travel to the Dumont d’Urville Station (more than one right answer): By boat? By plane? By car? By helicopter?

By boat or by plane.

The Astrolabe, an icebreaker ship, transports French scientists and their equipment from the Port of Hobart in Tasmania (Australia).

It is also possible to travel to the station by plane (from an airport in Australia or New Zealand). There are of course no bridges between Adelie Earth and another continent and the distance to travel is too far for a helicopter!

12/ To be able to spend the winter in a French station in Antarctica, you need to (more than one right answer): Take physical tests? Take psychological tests? Take general knowledge tests? Take medical tests?

It is of course necessary to take medical tests to check a person’s health (it is not possible to send an ill person back to their home country from Antarctica in the middle of winter ).

But it is also necessary to take psychological tests to check that a person will be able to withstand isolation and confinement and integrate into a social group without problem.

13/ The people nearest to the scientists working in Concordia Station live: At the Russia’s Vostok Station in Antarctica? At the Dumont d’Urville Station? In Antarctica? At the International Space Station?

At the International Space Station!

In fact, the International Space Station orbits between 330 km and 420 km from the Earth. Therefore, when the International Space Station travels over Antarctica, Concordia Station is not as far as the Dumont d’Urville Station (which is 1,100 km away) and Russia’s Vostok Station (which is 550 km away).

If you were to walk through the centre of the Earth, you would have to travel 12,000 km to reach the Artic.

Did you know ?

  • Penguins only live in the Southern Hemisphere, they do not fly and belong to the Spheniscidae family. Auks, however, only live in the Northern Hemisphere. They can fly and belong to the Alcidae family. Of course, you already knew that!

But can you guess which one of these four species is a penguin?

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3

  • 4

Answer

Can you guess which one of these four species is a penguin?

The 2nd!

Over time, penguins have turned their bodies into diving machines. This can be seen in their stockier, more massive bodies and especially their fins (not their wings), which have evolved into swimming paddles that propel them through the water at high speed, sometimes reaching 14 km/hour.

On the other hand, auks have kept their ability to fly. Although they are outstanding divers, they cannot compare to penguins under water. But, at least they can fly.

Which one of these things is not like the others?

  • 1

  • 2

  • 3

  • 4

Answer

Which one of these things is not like the others?

The 3rd!

There are no polar bears in Antarctica! Polar bears live in the North Pole region, in the Arctic.