The South Pole, also known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where the Earth’s axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth and lies on the opposite side of the Earth from the North Pole.
The South Pole is located on the solid ground, allowing a permanent research station to be built at the site of the pole itself. Although it was once an elusive goal that took the lives of many explorers, thanks to modern technology, it has been permanently staffed since 1956 and is now a destination of commercial travel expeditions.
The South Pole station is at an elevation of 2,900 meters; however, the equivalent pressure elevation, based on polar atmospheric conditions, will vary from 3,300 to 4,000 meters. No landmarks are visible on the 3,000-meter-thick plateau of ice. South Pole Station is 1,350 km from McMurdo Station.
History of South Pole
The geographic South Pole (90 degrees South) has long been a prized goal of Antarctic explorers. The first to reach it were four Norwegians led by Roald Amundsen in 1911. About a month later, in January 1912, the British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with four companions. Scott and his party perished from exposure and hunger on their attempted return on foot to the McMurdo Sound region.
No one stepped foot on the south pole until 1956, when another US Navy plane reached the pole, landing this time. Soon thereafter, the US constructed a station as part of the International Geophysical Year, which has been permanently staffed since.