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a close up of a rocky mountain

Many people may know that Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on the planet. However there are some other interesting records it also holds.


1) Enter Sand Iceman

Metallica made it into the 2015 Guiness World Records when they became the first musical act to perform a concert on every continent. The band played to 120 scientists and a select few competition winners in a transparent dome at Carlini Station in an hour-long ‘Freeze ‘Em All’ show.

This show was notable not just for where, but for how it was performed. To meet the international Antarctic protocols designed to protect the surrounding environment the band played without any amplification. There were no ‘amplifiers up to 11’ here. Instead each song was transmitted live to the audience through headphones.


2) Deep diving

The greatest depth by a bird ever accurately measured happened in Antarctica. Scientists discovered an emperor penguin diving 564 metres below the surface off the coast of eastern Antarctica. A three-year study in the late 80s and early 90s measured 93 different penguins in time and depth underwater.

The longest dive during this study was 21.8 minutes. This record has been smashed recently – in April 2018 it was reported that an emperor penguin had stayed under for an incredible 32.2 minutes. That’s pretty much an entire season of actual footage from a reality TV show.


3) Yes, it’s cold.

Ok – you probably did know this. But just how cold is ‘cold’? In June 2018 scientists delivered the news that Earth’s coldest-ever temperature had been recorded. -97.8 degrees Celsius. At that temperature just a few breaths would lead to your doom– the cold causing haemorrhaging in your lungs that would quickly result in death.

During the long, dark Antarctica winter temperatures the research team measured the highest point on the ice where, at 4053 metres above sea level, small depressions allow the cold to sink in and settle. These scientists likened it to “a temperature that resembles that found on other planets”, and stated that it close to the theoretical coldest temperature Earth can get to.


4) Summer folk

Antarctica holds the unique world record of being the continent with the most transient population.

Annually the resident population at the various research bases will change by five times the amount. In the harsh winter there will be approximately 1000 people on the ice, a skeleton crew of maintenance and support staff. In the more hospitable summer this increases to 5000 people, the influx of scientists and their support teams bringing the crowds back to Antarctic.


5) Dancing up a storm

Certain graceful scientists may argue the point. However, unlike every other continent, Antarctica had never seen a true dance performance over the years. That changed in 2018 when two Kiwi dancers travelled to the ice to set four world records – first dancer, first choreographer, first dance performance and first dance creation on Antarctica.

Christchurch’s Corey Baker, an award-winning choreographer and filmmaker and Madeleine Graham, a Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer, travelled to the icy south where Madeleine put in a performance dancing her socks off. Not literally of course. You can read all about their journey by clicking here.

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