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Wilkes Land:see AntarcticaAntarctica
, the fifth largest continent, c.5,500,000 sq mi (14,245,000 sq km), asymmetrically centered on the South Pole and almost entirely within the Antarctic Circle. Geology and Geography
Antarctica consists of two major regions: W Antarctica (c.
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an area in East Antarctica lying between Adélie Land and Queen Mary Land. Wilkes Land consists of the surface of a continental ice sheet that is over 3,000 m thick and has an elevation between 1,000 m and 2,500 m. Certain sections along the coast are free of ice, namely the Bunger and Grierson oases and various nunataks and cliffs. Wilkes Land was discovered in 1840 by an American expedition under the command of C. Wilkes. Scientific research is conducted in the area by Australia, which operates Casey Station, and the USSR.