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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 19, 2022

Yes, Antarctica is a continent

Among the miscellaneous facts that young students often learn in the United States: There are seven continents in the world. 

But a recent Facebook post, shared in a group for people who wrongly subscribe to the flat earth theory, challenges that common knowledge.

"Antarctica is not a continent," the post says. "Antarctica, the highest land mass on Earth with an average elevation of 7,545 ft above sea level, is the 360 degree perimeter of our known world and the container of our oceans."

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

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Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent in total area, according to National Geographic. It’s also the only continent without a native population or permanent human habitation, though there are permanent human settlements in which scientists and support staff live for some of the year on a rotating basis. 

The Australian Antarctic Program reports Antarctica is the driest, windiest and coldest continent in the world. It’s covered with ice with little exposed rock. The National Science Foundation says the highest mountains rise to elevations over 14,000 feet, about the height of the Rocky Mountains but it’s Antarctica’s thick ice sheets that make the continent the highest continent in the world. It’s also the southernmost continent and home to the South Pole. The British Antarctic Survey calls it "a cold desert." 

We rate this post False. 


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Yes, Antarctica is a continent

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