Antarctica is the third-smallest continent lacated in the South Pole region. It is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Antarctica has a land mass of 14.425 million square kilometers with 98% of its surface is covered by ice. Although covered by snow and ice, Antarctica is actually the world's largest desert. This is because there is very little percipitation. Currently, Antarctica has no permanent residents. However, governments from several countries maintain research facilities in locations throughout the continent. Antarctica has no current government. Although it has territory claimed by countries such as the United Kindom, New Zealand, Austrailia, Norway, France, and Chile, these claims are not recognized by other countries.