Saturday, January 28, 2023

Which is the true North Pole?


Santa's house in North Pole, Alaska has been a landmark since 1952. KTUU photo

There are actually four North Poles or maybe more depending if you count the numerous locations hwere Santa hangs his hat. 

The Geographical North Pole, also known as True North, is the highest point on Earth and the point where all lines of longitude converge. The Magnetic North Pole is the location where Earth's magnetic lines point straight down, and it is where a compass needle points. 

The Geomagnetic North Pole is the point where the Earth's magnetic field intersects the planet at the northern end, while the North Pole of Inaccessibility is the farthest point in the Arctic Ocean from any coastline.

 Getting to the North Pole

  • There are only around 5 trips per year for 640 passengers
  • A total of just 1,000 people a year reach this point
  • You can get there on a nuclear powered ice-breaker 
  • The Pole is around 700 miles from the nearest land
  • There is not much wildlife at the Pole; however, you may see polar bears, seals, walrus, whales and all sorts of birds on the way.

When you get to the North Pole 90 degrees north where all lines of longitude meet, you will be standing on top of ice that is between 6-10 feet thick. Underneath is the ocean that is 13,000 feet deep.

Nuclear ice breaker parked at the North Pole.

The first circumnavigation of the globe through the North and South Poles occurred in 1965. A number of people have done that since then. In the late 80s, Australian aviator Dick Smith flew a Twin Otter aircraft around both the North and South Poles, following meridians of longitude. He began his journey in Sydney, Australia on November 1st, 1988 and returned on May 28th, 1989, making stops at both the North and South Poles and completing a full circumnavigation.

Sources: Feerick, J. (2020, December 28). Earth Actually Has Four North Poles.

Woodyatt, A. (2019, July 11). Flight crew breaks record for circumnavigating globe via both poles. CNN. Retrieved from