| ||Antarctica, the continent of the Antipodes is an immense frozen land, one and a half times the size of Europe, covered with the largestice cap in the world. The ice cap is so thick and so wide that it covers 98% of the continent and contains 61% of the planet's freshwater. Near the American scientific station, the Dry Valleys region is one of the few lands in Antarctica that is not covered in ice. The Katabatic winds blowing from the heart of the continent are so cold and so violent (up to 300 km/h) that snow cannot accumulate. The rock is laid bare and exposes sedimentary layers of ochre from rivers and lakes penetrated by black volcanic rocks. Some forms of life are adapted to these extreme conditions : single-celled bacteria and algae, lichen at the very heart of the rock, and lastly, nematodes (roundworms) that dry up and become dormant as winter approaches and wake up as soon as weather conditions become milder.
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