Christmas is just under a month away, which is why we thought we’d help brush up your knowledge on the mysterious North Pole – as it’s so much more than the home of Santa’s workshop. Here are 10 North Pole facts we bet you don’t know…
1. The Coldest Place on Earth
Contrary to popular belief, the North Pole is not the coldest place on earth. The South Pole is. The South Pole sits on top of a thick sheet of ice, which is also on the piece of land known as Antarctica, which is 9,000 feet above sea level. The North Pole, however, sits on a thin Arctic sheet of ice and is nearly a foot above sea level, meaning it can absorb heat from the Arctic Ocean.
There’s no denying the North Pole is freezing all year round, but it does have seasons. The temperatures vary at different times of the year. The warmest month is July when temperatures hit 32 degrees, and temperatures drop to a bitterly cold 31 degrees below zero in February.
The amount of daylight the North Pole receives also varies, as the Northern Hemisphere point, along with Alaska and Norway only receive six months of broad daylight. This is due to the angle that the top portion of Earth receives sunlight.
3. Two North Poles
Did you know there are two North Poles? The north magnetic pole is literally a magnetic phenomenon that changes daily depending on changes under Earth’s crust. The north terrestrial pole is a fixed point that references the top of Earth.
Global warming is a big problem in both of the North Poles, as the environment is subject to sea level rises and polar ice cap melts that wipe away the land polar bears and other wildlife depend on.
4. Oil Reserves
Approximately 30% of the world’s untapped oil reserves are situated in the Arctic Circle – whilst some argue that figure could be a lot higher as much of the region is yet to be explored. It is no surprise that numerous countries are now laying claim to the Arctic Circle, including Russia, Norway, the United States, Denmark and Canada.
As a result, each country has is allowed to explore possible oil reserves within 200 miles of their coastlines. Russia, however, placed their country’s flag an area of the Arctic in an attempt to take claim of the region and its potential oil reserves. The move was, unsurprisingly, rejected by the U.N.
5. The World’s Coolest Marathon
The North Pole Marathon is an annual event that has taken place every year since 2002, and, in 2011, 255 people from 38 nations competed in the 26.2 marathon race in one of the toughest climate conditions in the world. Competitors layer up in all sorts of windproof pants, gloves, two pairs of socks and goggles! Are you brave enough?
6. No Time Zone
The North Pole has no time zone, as the sun only rises and sets once per year. Also, as there’s no permanent human presence, no time zone has ever been assigned, and so visitors use their preferred time zone. That’s how Father Christmas can deliver all the world’s presents on Christmas Eve – as he is not restricted by time!
7. No Penguins
Many people believe penguins live in the North Pole. We’re sorry to burst your bubble but they actually live in the Southern Hemisphere – the Antarctic region. If penguins lived in the Northern Hemisphere then polar bears – who do live in the North Pole – would never have to worry about food sources.
8. Not a Continent
The North Pole is not a continent – unlike the South Pole. That’s because the ice of the North Pole floats on the ocean, whilst the ice of the South Pole sits on ground and is therefore part of the continent of Antartica.
9. The First Explorer
Robert Edwin Peary was an American explorer who was credited as the first person to have reached the geographic North Pole during his expedition on 6th April, 1909. After 23 attempts to reach the Arctic region since 1886, he finally accomplished his goal and stayed for 30 hours to make the right calculations to prove he was, in fact, at the North Pole.
However, another explorer, Frederick Cook, made a similar claim, as they both reached the North Pole around the same time. It is hard to say who reached there first – or if either man reached the destination at all!
10. Little Birds
Each year, little birds flee the North Pole for the Antarctic – which is approximately 20,014 kilometres. However, instead of flying straight towards the continent, they take some sort of modified loop, cutting their journey down to 12,430 miles.
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