Posted on January 19, 2020
There have been races to the North Pole and to the South Pole - Oops! In each case, I meant "Poles," plural - because there is a magnetic North Pole and a geographic North Pole, and a magnetic and geographic South Pole.
The North Poles (plural) are located in the Arctic (along with polar bears, seals, puffins, ptarmigans, and caribou), and the South Poles are located in the Antarctic (along with penguins and seals).
That is the spot in Antarctica farthest from any ocean.
In 1958, the Soviet Union built a science research station at the pole of inaccessibility, as it was then defined. Later, better measurements of Antarctica defined the pole of inaccessibility as being different spots, but they are fairly close to the Soviet station. Since December 28, 1958, the station was vacated with the intent that scientists might make short visits in the future.
|Research station 1965;|
note that there is a statue
of Lenin at the top of the tower.
Indeed, Soviet and American expeditions reached the station in 1964,1965, 1966, and 1967. There was a big gap between that last visit and....
|These two photos of snow kiting|
aren't from Antarctic expeditions...
....And this date in 2007, when a British team reached the defunct station on skis, using specially-designed foil kites. (Have you heard of snow kiting? It's a thing!) This was the first time that the Antarctic pole of inaccessibility was reached without powered vehicles!
When the team arrived at the Soviet station, they discovered that it was almost entirely buried by snow. The top of the building had featured a bust of Vladimir Lenin facing Moscow - and only that bust and a bit of roof was visible to mark the spot where the station had been!
The buried building and visible bust have been designated a Historic Site, and a plaque has been erected there. And it's a great spot for a photo op, apparently!
By the way, the Arctic doesn't have a pole of inaccessibility, because it's an ocean (with fingers of Eurasian and North American continents reaching into the Arctic region, of course). Sometimes the ocean is frozen over - but it's still an ocean, not a continent.
But I was surprised to learn that each continent has a pole of inaccessibility! Here are two:
|Above, Australia's pole of inaccessibility.|
Below, Africa's pole of inaccessibility.
And, remember, there are people who live at or near some poles of inaccessibility. You don't have to be a hardy polar explorer to reach them!