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North Pole: amazing facts and secrets of the icy edge of the earth

AThello family! Today I invite you to take an unconventional journey to the North Pole - a distant edge of the earth, shrouded in secrets, legends and the deeds of heroic explorers. Let's try to fully immerse ourselves in this mysterious kingdom of eternal ice, truly endless clean white spaces and the most interesting Arctic mysteries!

So, where is this elusive North Pole?

Do you think it’s enough to point your finger at the top of the globe and that’s it? No matter how it is! In fact, the North Pole has four “twins”:

  1. Geographical The North Pole is the very “top” of the Earth through which the imaginary axis of rotation of our planet passes. All polar explorers and adventurers dream about him. But keep in mind: due to the vagaries of the earth's crust, the coordinates of the poles are constantly dancing! So don’t be surprised if, having reached your desired point, you find yourself a little different from where you expected.
  2. Magnetic The North Pole is the place to which the compass needle so passionately strives. But the trouble is, this fidget doesn’t sit still either! He constantly wanders between Canadian and Russian possessions, as if playing hide and seek with travelers. Try to guess where he will show up next!
  3. Geomagnetic The North Pole is a kind of “ghostly” twin brother of the magnetic pole. Scientists calculate its location by conjuring formulas for the Earth's magnetic fields. Now this cunning fellow is hiding approximately 1600 km from his magnetic brother. Such a surprise!
  4. And finally, the "pole" inaccessibility"is the most inaccessible point in the Arctic Ocean, hidden away from all continents. Getting here is a real challenge even for experienced polar explorers.

As you can see, not everything is so simple with the poles! But our path lies precisely to the geographic North Pole - to the very heart of the Arctic.

What awaits us at the top of the world?

Surely someone imagines the North Pole as an endless icy desert, where eternal cold and silence reign. And there must also be polar bears and penguins there, you say. But don’t rush to conclusions and down with stereotypes! Firstly, penguins live only in Antarctica - that's it. And secondly, the North Pole knows how to surprise!

polar bear
polar bear

Let's start with the fact that there is not an ounce of land at the pole. This is just a giant ice cap drifting in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and the ice here can reach a thickness of 2-3 meters. So you’ll have to forget about walking on solid ground for a while. But you can arrange an unforgettable photo shoot right in the middle of the ice hummocks!

But even in this real kingdom of cold, life, as always, finds loopholes. True, it’s hard to find plants there - they simply don’t exist. But what else can you expect from a place where the polar night lasts for almost half a year, and there is literally no land at all? And do not confuse the nature of the Arctic with the nature of the North Pole; there is vegetation and land in the Arctic :).

But in addition to the obligatory polar bears, here you can meet nimble Arctic foxes, sedate reindeer and even fast Arctic hares - they wander in, there is no prohibition for them. But seals, walruses, and various whales are hiding under the ice.

Arctic fox
Arctic fox

Thirdly, the weather at the North Pole is quite a test! In winter, temperatures can drop to -50°C and wind speeds of up to 50 m/s. Quite chilly, even for seasoned Siberians! But, oddly enough, in summer it is warmer here than in Antarctica - the thermometer sometimes rises to zero. Just the tropics!

whale tail
Image: Whale Tail

By the way, if you come to the pole at the end of March, you will be able to observe an amazing phenomenon - polar day. The sun doesn’t set below the horizon here for almost six months! But from September to March the polar night lasts. So choose when you like best - six months of light or darkness?

Arctic time zone or several hours per minute

If you decide to stay longer at the North Pole, be prepared for time paradoxes. All meridians and time zones converge here, so every step around its axis will take you to a different time.

It is not surprising that ordinary, even non-electronic, compasses behave strangely here. The arrow will rush from side to side, not knowing where to point. So if you get lost, use the stars to guide you. Fortunately, the polar star will always be directly overhead.

And at the North Pole you can celebrate the New Year as many as 24 times! After all, when the clock strikes midnight in one time zone, evening is just beginning in another. So if you want to extend the holiday, come here.

The history of the conquest of the icy land

Do you know who was the first to set foot on the North Pole? No, these were not brave explorers in fur coats and with ice axes at the ready. The pioneers of the Arctic were... myths and legends!

Through the Ice
Through the ice on an icebreaker - modern researchers

In different eras, different peoples imagined the North Pole in completely different ways. And it is not surprising that someone only guessed about the existence of the “Kingdom of Snow and Eternal Winter.” People tend to dream, and that’s how the mysterious Hyperborea was born - an invented country of the eternal sun, where all people live happily and in mutual understanding. Others dreamed of the lost island of Thule, shrouded in fog and inhabited by powerful magicians. And on ancient maps, no, no, yes, Sannikov Land flashed - a mysterious piece of land among the Arctic ice.

The fantasy of mankind has depicted the North Pole as either the abode of the gods, or a repository of countless treasures, or even a portal to other worlds. Or maybe Bigfoot or an alien ship frozen in the ice is still wandering somewhere out there, keeping all these secrets?

But the legends moved into the real world much more reluctantly. For many years and centuries, the North Pole remained an unattainable dream, alluring and frightening at the same time. How many desperate attempts were made, how many daredevils stormed the icy expanses! But the treacherous Arctic did not forgive mistakes. Some returned with nothing, having lost all their equipment and health, while others remained in the eternal ice forever...

Frederick Albert Cook
Frederick Albert Cook

And only at the beginning of the last century, which was rich in worldwide geographical discoveries, fortune finally smiled, and according to many versions, to two researchers at once. In 1908, American Frederick Cook proudly told the world that he was the first to conquer the North Pole. But it was not there! Another representative of the same country with the Stars and Stripes, named Robert Peary, challenged his primacy, claiming that it was he who planted that very flag on the top of the planet.

Which of them is the true conqueror of the Arctic? There is still no exact answer. Both travelers presented very vague evidence of their exploits. Perhaps they both really reached the cherished point, but there is still no unity regarding their primacy. The truth was carried away by the Arctic ice...

Four brave men led by Papanin
Four brave men led by Papanin

In the end, we decided to give the palm to the Soviet pilot Ivan Papanin, who with a group of scientists in 1937 landed on an ice floe near the North Pole and founded the first Soviet scientific station “North Pole-1” there. True, she drifted away from the pole for as much as 20 km, but for polar explorers this was mere trifles. In total, the USSR sent more than 30 expeditions to the pole. So in the development of the Arctic we are ahead of the rest!

The extreme tourism trail

Do you think that the North Pole only attracts scientists and military personnel? No matter how it is! In recent years, the most desperate solo extreme sports enthusiasts have increasingly come here.

Just imagine: you are dropped onto a drifting ice floe by helicopter somewhere 100 km from the pole. And then you yourself, on skis, with a heavy backpack over your shoulders, make your way through hummocks, ice holes and cracks. During the day the bright sun blinds your eyes, at night it freezes you to the bone. And the owner of the Arctic, the polar bear, may also come and visit. Romance!

But extreme sports enthusiasts don’t care! The North Pole hosts ski trips, marathon races, and even swims in icy water. And one Japanese, Shinichi Tanaka, actually reached the pole on a motorcycle! Although along the way he had to swim quite a bit with the iron horse. But he became the first “polar biker” in history.

But now, in order to get to the North Pole, it is not at all necessary to become a harsh extreme tourist ready for all sorts of dangers. Today there is a real opportunity to personally touch the mysteries of the Arctic by going on an exciting tour or cruise to the top of the Earth.

Icebreaker at the North Pole

Close your eyes and imagine: you are standing on the deck of a nuclear icebreaker, a kind of steel hero, fearlessly paving the way through hummocks and ice fields. All around, as far as the eye can see, there are endless expanses of snow, sparkling and shimmering in the rays of the never-setting sun. The icy wind chills to the bones, but this only adds to the sharpness of the sensations. One thought pulsates in my head: “I did it! I have reached the edge of the earth, to the very top of our planet!”

An icebreaker tour is almost the only adequate opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the brave pioneers who wrote their names in the heroic history of Arctic exploration. You can not only admire the crystal beauty of this mysterious region from the heart, but also immerse yourself in the world of history, legends and traditions.

So if your soul asks for adventure, welcome to the North Pole! In our time tours to the north pole have become a reality and do not require travelers to have special polar training or special knowledge to survive in the harsh Arctic conditions.

Santa Claus moves to the pole

I can’t ignore the main resident of the North Pole - of course, Santa Claus! This good-natured man in a red suit with a white beard, together with Santa Claus, has firmly settled in our hearts, bringing with him New Year's gifts and the smell of tangerines.

Santa Claus on reindeer

But where did he come from at the North Pole? After all, initially the prototype of Santa was considered to be Saint Nicholas, who lived not in the Arctic at all, but in the territory of modern Turkey. Blame it all... on American newspapers!

In the mid-19th century, artist Thomas Knight created for them the image of a well-fed, merry fellow who lives among the snow. And since Arctic expeditions were in full swing at that time, they settled Santa at the North Pole. Since then, he has taken root there along with the deer and elves.

Global warming has arrived here too

And of course we can’t help but mention the problems. Previously, in winter it was possible to walk across the ice of the North Pole from Russia to Alaska without getting your feet wet, but now scientists are sounding the alarm. However, there are real reasons for this and these are not someone’s conjectures and nightmares. You can, of course, argue about the greenhouse effect and what it will lead to, but there are also indisputable facts.

Melting icebergs
Melting icebergs

The “North Pole” itself, and you remember that it is just ice, is melting. Moreover, it is not melting slowly. In just over thirty years, the area of our mysterious “continent” has gone into minus by almost thirty percent! At this rate, in about 25-30 years, all that will be left of him will be memorable and scientific videos, and stories in books. What this may lead to can be guessed at, although many film directors have embodied individual predictions of scientists in their films.

It's time to save the North Pole! Otherwise, you will have to look for a new residence for Santa. Maybe in Antarctica? It's still cold there. True, the penguins occupied all the convenient places to park the sleigh.

North Pole: the end of the earth or the beginning of the journey?

How many more secrets does the North Pole hold? How many more mysteries does humanity have to solve in this kingdom of ice and cold?

One thing is for sure - the Arctic does not forgive mistakes and frivolity. Here everything is decided by courage, perseverance and mutual assistance. Maybe that’s why people have been striving to conquer the North Pole for centuries - to test themselves and reach the end of the earth. Or find the beginning of a new path there.

But now the Arctic faces completely different temporary tasks. It is clear that the most important and first task on the list is the safety of the continent as such. Its pristine beauty and fragile ecosystem. Don't think of the North Pole as some abstract point on the globe. It can safely be called a symbol of the fragility and vulnerability of our seemingly unshakable planet.

So let Santa Claus continue to calmly pack gifts at his polar factory. And we will protect and study this amazing icy world.

Well, friends, did you like our correspondence trip to the top of the Earth? Now you know much more about the North Pole than before. But the most interesting thing is probably yet to come. So stock up on thermal underwear, book a tour on an icebreaker and go on an adventure! See you at the North Pole 😉

Ирина Залесская

Author on the site "TRAVEL GUIDE" Expert in the field of modern design. Madly loves to travel, loves to visit new places, learn new facts and takes details seriously.

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