Antarctica Vacations

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Antarctica vacations are guaranteed to take tourists to a world vastly different from the one they left. Isn't that the point, after all, to "getting away from it all"? You certainly can't go much farther than the bottom of the earth!

With no government, people, or language, who owns Antarctica and how does it function? The simple answer is no one owns it and so far, it functions just fine. Seven countries lay claim to territory, but conflicts have not been apparent even though some countries' claims overlap. Much of the credit may go to the Antarctic Treaty ratified in 1961, which stated that the continent would be used only for peaceful purposes and encouraged the continuance of scientific cooperation to study this geologic marvel.

Antarctica Vacations in Ancient Gondwanaland

Geologists, biologists, and paleontologists tell us that up until roughly 200 million years ago, all land masses were part of one gigantic continent, Pangaea. At about that time, these masses began to break up due to the movement of the earth's fragmented plates, and the southern lands became a separate region, named Gondwanaland. South America and Antarctica were joined until about 27 million years ago, when they became separated by what we now call Drake Passage.

Modern Antarctica cruises often have scientists, such as ornithologists and biologists, who give lectures or running commentaries on the natural history of Antarctica, so visitors on Antarctica vacations can appreciate this amazing, prehistoric land. Antarctica vacations take visitors not only to the massive continent itself, but to many of the southern islands that are geologic offshoots of the ancient breakup of Gondwanaland. South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Sandwich Islands, South Georgia, and the Falklands--these may be visited on Antarctica cruise vacations.


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