Oceania and Antarctica


Identify places, people, and occupations in Oceania.
Describe the location, climate, and scientific importance of Antarctica.

     Chapter Overview

Chapter 27: Oceania and Antarctica

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 country. The main economic activities 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 a desert climate due to the lack of precipitation. Scientists believe that Antarctica contains a wealth of minerals. A treaty allows scientific research, but not the removal of those minerals.

     Quick Notes


Oceania is made up of three regions--Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
Oceania has three kinds of islands: continental islands separated from continents, high islands formed by volcanoes, and low islands made from coral reefs.
Most islands of Polynesia were trust territories at one time. Today many are independent.
The cultures of these island groups are a mixture of local traditions, the cultures of European settlers, and modern influences.
Farming, fishing, and tourism are the major economic activities of Oceania.
The largest island region in Oceania by size is Polynesia.


A huge ice cap covers most of Antarctica.
The earth's southernmost point, the South Pole, lies near the center of Antarctica.
Potential uses of Antarctica's resources include mining of minerals and transforming ice into freshwater that could be used by the rest of the world.
Animals such as penguins, fish, whales, birds, and krill make their homes in the icy waters and on the coasts of Antarctica.
Antarctica is the only continent with no permanent human settlement.
Antarctica is a major center of international scientific research.

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