The World and Its People

Chapter 27: Oceania and Antarctica

Chapter Overviews

Oceania is a culture region that includes about 25,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The three main island regions are Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. Papua New Guinea is the largest and most populous island. The main economic activities in Oceania are agriculture and tourism.

The continent of Antarctica sits at the southern end of the earth. A thick ice cap covers a landscape of mountains, valleys, and plateaus. Although it is the coldest place on Earth, it is considered to have a desert climate due to the lack of precipitation. Even with its harsh environment, Antarctica can still support life. Penguins, fish, whales, and many kinds of birds live in or near the rich seas surrounding Antarctica, and many eat a tiny, shrimplike creature called krill. Scientists believe that Antarctica contains a wealth of minerals. A treaty among several countries allows scientific research in Antarctica—such as study of the ozone layer—but not the removal of its minerals.

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