Interesting Facts About the South Pole

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The South Pole, the southernmost point of the earth, is located on the continent of Antarctica. Few humans go there, it also has no permanent residents and there is no record of any group ever inhabiting it, you can travel to there on a tour-guided expedition. The South Pole is a place like no other, with many interesting facts waiting to be discovered.

The Geographic South Pole in Antarctica
The Geographic South Pole in Antarctica (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Two Seasons

The South Pole only has two seasons: winter and summer. Each season lasts six months of the year. During winter at the South Pole, the sun never rises. During summer, the sun never rises and never sets. In fact, it simply orbits around the horizon in a straight line with relatively no change in distance from the earth.

Aerial view over Antarctica
Aerial view over Antarctica (Image: MikeEpstein/iStock/Getty Images)

Temperature and Elevation

The South Pole sits 9,300 feet above sea level, but the actual bedrock of the pole is only 100 feet above sea level. The average temperature at the South Pole is -58 degrees Fahrenheit annually. Recorded temperatures have documented temperatures as low as -100.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safety rope at Antarctica research station in case of whiteout and snow drifts
Safety rope at Antarctica research station in case of whiteout and snow drifts (Image: Armin Rose/iStock/Getty Images)

Two Poles

The South Pole actually has two poles: the South Magnetic pole and the South Geomagnetic pole. The Magnetic Pole, which moves around due to changes in the earth's magnetic field, is currently moving at a pace of six to nine miles per year. The South Geomagnetic Pole also moves its positioning and is completely independent from the Magnetic South Pole. As of 2005, it is close to the Vostok Station, just east of the Amundsen-Scott Station.

South Magnetic Pole indicated on old U.S. Navy chart
South Magnetic Pole indicated on old U.S. Navy chart (Image: Robert Kyllo/iStock/Getty Images)

Station

The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is named after Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott. The station was erected by Amundsen, who first arrived to the pole in December 1911; Scott made several expeditions racing Amundsen to the pole. The station itself was built in 1955. A modern dome structure was the station's base from 1975 to 1990, and as of 2010, a completely modernized facility has replaced the old dome structure.

Thirty foot tall snow drift against the old dome structure of the Amundsen Scott Station
Thirty foot tall snow drift against the old dome structure of the Amundsen Scott Station (Image: WestWindGraphics/iStock/Getty Images)

Women and the Pole

Though Amundsen first reached the South Pole in 1911, no woman set foot there until November 1969, when a geologist at Ohio State University, Lois Jones, and her all-female research team came to work on the ice and dispel the misconception that women would not be physically able to travel to the ice-covered land.

Woman aboard cruise ship near Antarctic glacier
Woman aboard cruise ship near Antarctic glacier (Image: nok6716/iStock/Getty Images)

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