Why was Antarctica called Antarctica?

The mainland Antarctica got its name as a derivative of the word "Antarctica", which appeared earlier. At first it was not clear whether there was a continent there at all, or how there was only an ice cap at the North Pole. But the southern polar region was named Antarctica because of the Arctic. Antarctica is translated from Greek as "opposite to the Arctic", and the word "Arctic" appeared earlier as a designation of the area adjacent to the North Pole. But already "Arctic" derives its name from ancient Greek mythology.

And it was like this. The main Greek side - the Thunderer Zeus - somehow fell in love with the nymph Callisto, but other gods envied their happiness and turned a pregnant woman into a bear (by the way, the Big Dipper in the starry sky - she is, but let's get it right). Nevertheless, Callisto gave birth to a son to Zeus. Arkad, that was the name of his son (in Greek, bear - arktos), grew up without a mother. And then one day while hunting, he aimed a spear at his mother in the guise of a bear (he was not told the details by that time). Zeus, seeing that the irreparable could happen, turned both into constellations - this is how the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor appeared.

Focusing on the constellations, it is easy to find the pole star in the sky, always pointing to the north for sailors. It is enough to draw a line through the two extreme stars of the Ursa Major bucket, and the line will also cross the Polar Star, which is located on the handle of the Ursa Minor bucket. Because of this history, the ancient Greeks began to call the entire northern region the Arctic. Much later, the name Antarctica appeared (the opposite of the Arctic), and only when it became reliably known that the continent lay under the ice of the South Pole did it acquire the name Antarctica.

This part of the world was discovered by Russian sailors under the command of Thaddeus Bellingshausen on January 28, 1820. True, this is the official date - it was then that the sailors saw the "ice continent". A year later, the sailors saw the coast and named this area the Land of Alexander the First. The first to enter the mainland on January 24, 1895 were the captain of the Norwegian ship Antarctic Christensen and the teacher of natural sciences Karlsten Borchgrövink.

Antarctica is the highest continent of the Earth, the average height of the continent's surface above sea level is more than 2000 m, and in the center of the continent it reaches 4000 m.Most of this height is the permanent ice cover of the continent, under which the continental relief is hidden and only ~ 5% of its area is free from ice - mainly in West Antarctica and the Transantarctic Mountains: islands, coastal areas, "dry valleys" and individual ridges and mountain peaks (nunataks), towering above the ice surface. The Transantarctic mountains, which cross almost the entire continent, divide Antarctica into two parts - West Antarctica and East Antarctica - which have different origins and geological structures. In the east, there is a high (the highest elevation of the ice surface ~ 4100 meters above sea level), an ice-covered plateau. The western part consists of a group of mountainous islands connected by ice. On the Pacific coast are the Antarctic Andes, which are over 4, 000 meters high; the highest point of the continent - 4892 meters above sea level - the Vinson massif of the Sentinel ridge. The deepest depression of the continent is also located in West Antarctica - the Bentley depression, probably of rift origin. The ice-filled Bentley Trench reaches 2, 555 meters below sea level.