interesting facts about South Pole

July 29, 2010 | In: Geography Facts

The South Pole is the southern extremity of the earth’s axis located at 90-degrees South latitude in Antarctica. This geographic feature is the point from which the only direction is North. The area around the South Pole is a plateau in west-central Antarctica. This landmark is about 300 miles south of the Ross Ice Shelf. The geographic South Pole is in a different place than the magnetic South Pole and the geomagnetic South Pole, the southern end of the Earth’s geomagnetic field, both of which change positions. The South Pole was first reached by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on December 14, 1911, and then again the following year by the British explorer Robert F. Scott. U.S. explorer Richard Byrd arrived at the Pole in 1929.

The South Pole has six months of complete daylight and six months of total darkness each year.

The South Pole is a very cold place. The lowest temperature ever recorded there was -117 F (-83 C) and the warmest was +3 F (-16 C). The South Pole is also very dry, receiving only 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm) of snow each year.

The South Pole has a rather high elevation — about 9,300 feet (2,800 meters). The geographic South Pole is marked with a red and white striped pole. It is relocated each summer because the ice over the pole moves about 30 feet (10 m) each year.

The magnetic South Pole (where compasses point) is located about 1,600 miles (2,700 km) from the geographic South Pole. It is not even on the continent of Antarctica but out in the southern ocean. The magnetic South Pole is moving at a rate of about 3.3 miles (5.5 km) per year.

During the South Pole Winter (late March to late September) it is dark all the time.

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