The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole, is the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets its surface. By definition, the North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth, lying diametrically opposite the South Pole. At the North Pole, all directions point south. That means that no matter which direction you move in, you are moving south. Think about that for a moment!
As far as the east and west are concerned, that’s a question of rotation. Counterclockwise is considered east and clockwise is considered west.
The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, which is almost permanently frozen. The ice sheet keeps shifting so you can’t have a permanent base or a flagpole denoting the exact location of the North Pole, which is covered with constantly shifting sea ice.
This makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole, unlike the South Pole. This is because the South Pole lies on a continental landmass.
However, the Soviet Union, which later became Russia, built a number of manned drifting stations on a generally annual basis since 1937, some of which have passed over or have been very close to the Pole. Since 2002, the Russians have also established a base annually. However, Russia has built a base close to the North Pole and organizes tourist visits.
Someday in the future, due to the rising global temperature and rising sea water level, the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free. There is significant Arctic ice shrinkage happening as you read this. The depth of Arctic Ocean at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m (13,980 ft) by the Russian Mir submersible and at 4,087 m (13,410 ft) by USS Nautilus. The nearest land is usually said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast of Greenland about 700 km (430 mi) away. The nearest permanently inhabited place is Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut, Canada, which is located 817 km (508 mi) from the North Pole.
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