What do you know about the North Pole? That’s not just snow and Santa! Ever since the North Pole was discovered in 1909 by Matthew Henson, Robert E. Peary, and four Eskimo companions, it has been a place attracting the attention of scientists, researchers, politicians, and even ordinary tourists. So let’s look at the most interesting facts about the North Pole you never knew!
1. There are actually two different definitions of the North Pole. The first one refers to the Geomagnetic North Pole that moves around on a daily basis and depends on the Earth’s magnetic field. The other one relates to the best-known Geographic North Pole often called the Top of the World.
2. Just like everywhere else on our planet, the North Pole has seasons. The highest temperature here is in July. It’s about 32ºF/0ºC. The temperature in winter drops to -45ºF/-42ºC. As you can see, that’s not the coldest place in the world. For instance, the average temperature in the South Pole in winter is -76ºF/-60ºC. By the way, the amount of light also depends on the season. Thus, Norway, as well as Alaska or any other Arctic Circle country, faces six months of almost total darkness.
3. You won’t find land on any of the two North Poles – just sheets of ice on the incredibly cold yet glass-like water.
4. The North Pole does not belong to any country. For today, Denmark (via Greenland), Russia, Norway, Canada, and the U.S. (via Alaska) lay claim to the Arctic Circle. Frankly speaking, that’s not surprising as approximately 22% of the world’s natural gas and untapped oil are still trapped beneath that ice.
5. Have you heard about “Unicorns of the Sea?” This is about narwhales or narwhals, medium-sized toothed whales with a tusk reaching lengths from about 1.5 m to 3.1 m (4 ft 11 in to 10 ft 2 in). These cool, almost mythical sea mammals live right in the waters around the Arctic Circle.
6. You won’t see penguins in the North Pole, as they live in the South Pole. However, except for narwhals, you can expect to see Beluga, Humpback, and Orca (Killer) whales, as well as the Svalbard reindeer and the Arctic fox. What’s more, the Arctic Circle is a great place to see powerful polar bears in their habitat.
In conclusion, let’s just add that the mythical North Pole is now an available yet not exactly a budget destination for ordinary tourists. This simply means that you don’t necessarily need to be a scientist or researcher to get there. All you need is to join a North Pole expedition with several dedicated guides who will show you the best and rarest that this place has in store for daring nomads. Hence, if you are an adventurous traveler for whom geographic boundaries do not matter much, that’s your chance to get to the Top of the World!