Antarctica is the continent surrounding the South Pole and opposite the Arctic; it is therefore located in the southern hemisphere of the Earth and almost entirely included within the Antarctic polar circle.

With its approximately 14 million km², Antarctica is the fourth largest continent on Earth after Asia, America and Africa and is surrounded by three oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian.

Except for some very limited areas, Antarctica is completely covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, having an average thickness of approximately 2,000 metres. The Antarctic ice pack also extends around the entire continent. Antarctica therefore has 98% of its territory covered by ice and this makes it the coldest and most inhospitable continent on the planet.