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South Pole

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The South Pole is the southernmost point on the Earth, as defined in any of several ways.


Geographic South Pole

The Geographic South Pole is the point where the earth's axis of rotation intersects the surface. This is the point usually meant when an unspecified "south pole" is mentioned.

The first humans to reach the Geographic South Pole were Roald Amundsen and his party on December 14, 1911. Amundsen's main competitor Robert Falcon Scott reached the Pole a month later. On the return trip Scott and his party of four all died of hunger and extreme cold. There have been many expeditions to arrive at the South Pole by surface transportation. The leaders of some of the first of these are, in order: Amundsen, Scott, Hillary, Fuchs, Havola , Crary, Fiennes. US Admiral Richard Byrd on November 29, 1929 became by the assistance of his first pilot Bernt Balchen the first person to fly over the South Pole.

 At present, Antarctica is located over the South Pole, although this has not been the case for all of Earth's history because of continental drift. The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station was established during the International Geophysical Year in 1958 and is permanently staffed by research and support personnel.

The projection of the south geographic pole onto the celestial sphere gives the south celestial pole.

Geomagnetic South Pole

The South Magnetic Pole is one of the two magnetic poles of the Earth's magnetic field. It lies near the Geographic South Pole, but its exact location is gradually shifting. The South Magnetic Pole is named for its proximity to the Geographic South Pole; in a strict magnetic sense, it is a north pole. The south pole of a magnet is attracted to the north poles of other magnets; the south pole of a freely suspended magnet (as in a compass) will point toward the Geomagnetic South Pole.

Magnetic South Pole

The Magnetic South Pole is the point nearest the Geographic South Pole where the field line s of Earth's magnetic field point directly into the ground. It does not coincide with the Geomagnetic South Pole.

On January 16, 1909 an expedition led by Ernest Shackleton found the Magnetic South Pole.

Southern Pole Of Inacessibility

It is located at 8550'S, 6547'E on the surface of the Antarctic continent which is most distant from the Southern Ocean. It was reached in 1957 by a Soviet Antarctic Expedition. They established the 'Sovetskaya' station which was occupied during the 1957-1958 southern summer.

Related topics

  • North Pole (also contains a description of how the poles of other planets are determined)

External links

  • Virtual tour of the South Pole

Last updated: 02-27-2005 12:10:35