Antarctica, the world’s most southerly continent, has an area of 14 million sq km and a coastline of almost 18,000 km. Approximately 98% of Antarctica consists of thick continental ice, the remaining 2% being barren rock. Much of the geography of the land lay hidden beneath the ice cover. For example, over 100 (liquid) water lakes of have been identified beneath the continental ice, many connected by sub-glacial rivers. Temperatures ranging from -57°C in winter to -18°C in summer along with high wind velocities, frequent blizzards and continuous darkness in winter, combine to make the interior of Antarctica the coldest location on earth. Among the areas of Antarctica free of ice are small coastal regions, including parts of southern Victoria Land, Wilkes Land, the Antarctic Peninsula area and parts of Ross Island on McMurdo Sound.