The North Pole is the northernmost point on the axis of the Earth and the location where the lines of longitude meet. The Geographic North Pole is an arbitrary location that is constantly recorded at 90° latitude and located within the Arctic Ocean. As the ocean freezes and thaws, the Geographic North Pole will either be located in the open water or on the frozen sea ice. The Geographic North Pole is commonly called ‘true north’ because its position does not change. The Magnetic North Pole is the direction in which all compasses point and it is constantly changing position, along with the Earth’s shifting magnetic field. Although both poles are in close proximity, they are never in the exact same location: this difference is called the magnetic declination.
The North Pole has long been an attraction for explorers, and now with tourists. The first explorer to have reached the Geographic North Pole was once thought to have been Robert E. Peary in 1948, although it is commonly suspected that he had forged his data. The first explorer to reach the Magnetic North Pole was James Clark Ross in 1931. People have travelled to the North Pole by walking, skiing, snow-mobiling, boating, dog sledding, submarine and aircraft. Tourists currently travel with guided tours to the North Pole on icebreakers.
See also: South Pole.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Arctic Theme Page: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/index.shtml
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