Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone

The continent of Antarctica has been a land of immense constant surprises which intrigues us all. Exception as the land is, the population has set their accords to settle in.

Time Zones

International travel is just another cup of tea in today’s world. 7continents1globe says before the emergence of this world, however, we had a world with different countries following a different schedule. The needed coordination between different lands to travel to and fro smoothly lead to the emergence of time zones

Its Introduction and Use

In 1884, 22 countries held a  conference in Washington to chalk out a plan that would render a coordinated time between countries. The time zones were decided by longitude. The Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich is the reference. For every 15 longitudinal degrees, the time changes by an hour. Hence our entire globe is divided into 24 time zones.

Antarctica And Its Position

The continent of Antarctica has situated asymmetrically around the South Pole. Since longitude runs from north to south pole, every longitude lies in Antarctica. Hence logically the time of Antarctica lies in all the time zones. One can walk through all the 24 time zones of the world within few seconds in Antarctica which makes the confusion all the more.

The Problem

Given the position of Antarctica, the standard norms of Time Zone's allotment do not work. Hence the time zones of Antarctica resembles more of a heat map as below.

Description Of Heat Map

The parts marked with red does not have any time zone. This does not mean the time is stagnant there. The scarce population in those areas run their clocks in alignment with the Coordinated Universal Time also known as UTC. The places serve as the reference for UTC.UTC is the closest derivative of GMT standard and is mostly recognized by the scientific community of the world.

The other colored parts also follow the UTC zone.

Other Parts

The heat map shows only those parts that follow the UTC standardization. The parts that do not come under the UTC scheme also exists within the continent.

The Settlements

The Antarctica is a continent that fascinates every country to lay down their claims on it. Many countries in their thirst for conquest have established their settlements .  Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the UK have made their territorial claims. However, only USA and Russia have permanent settlements.

Settlements Time Tracking

The population living in the settlements have concluded their way of keeping track of the time. They have aligned their clocks with the time zone of their native country. Others have aligned with the supply line which brings in commodities supply for them. Either way, the devised ways have worked well practically.

The Research Labs

There are primarily three stations that remain active all through the year.

Italian Antarctic Research Program Concordia Station

The Italian Antarctic Research Program Concordia Station works according to the GMT+8 standard without taking into account the daylight saving hours. The GMT +8 time zone belongs to the countries of Perth and Australia.

Mario Zucchelli Station (MZS)

The Mario Zucchelli Station (MZS) is geographically located near McMurdo in Terranova Bay. Hence the station follows the McMurdo Time.

There are many other research stations established in Antarctica. They are mainly indented at UTC hours or their chosen time zone according to the convenience.

Daylight Saving

As Mentioned, Antarctica sits at the cradle of the South Pole. Hence the sun shines directly overhead. This phenomenon makes the utilization of Daylight Saving unnecessary. It could only create confusion and hinder communication with the countries of Northern Hemisphere.


The areas of Palmer Land and Ross Dependency, however, follow the daylight time. Their host countries lie in the Northern Hemisphere. So these areas in Antarctica follow DST during southern summer (summer at Antarctica) when the winter is prevailing in the host nations.

The Fact

The electric clocks that run in the continent go wrong frequently. The reasons for such a peculiar behavior are still a mystery. However, to keep the time right, the clocks are set back five minutes approximately every couple of days.

No Time Zone Conclusion

More or less the population living here has grown to suit their time zones, convenient to their lifestyle. Hence the continent lack a proper time zone demarcation. Hence the land has become a vast accumulation of all different time zones. Nevertheless due to lack of a standard zone, this land has been fondly called The Land without a Time Zone.

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