- South Pole
1. Geog. the southern end of the earth's axis, the southernmost point on earth.2. Astron. the point at which the axis of the earth extended cuts the southern half of the celestial sphere; the south celestial pole.3. (l.c.) the pole of a magnet that seeks the earth's south magnetic pole.[1585-95, for def. 1]
* * *Southern extremity of the Earth's axis, located at latitude 90° S. It is the southern point from which all meridians of longitude start.The area around it is a lofty plateau in west-central Antarctica, with ice as much as 8,850 ft (2,700 m) thick. It has six months of complete daylight and six months of total darkness each year. It was first reached by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1911, one month before the expedition led by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott; U.S. explorer Richard E. Byrd flew to the pole in 1929. The geographic pole does not coincide with the magnetic South Pole, which lies on the Adélie Coast about 66°00′ S, 139°06′ E; it moves about 8 mi (13 km) to the northwest each year. The geomagnetic South Pole also moves; during the early 1990s it was located about 79°13′ S, 108°44′ E, and in 2000 it was 65°39′ S, 140° 01′ E.
* * *southern end of the Earth's axis, lying in Antarctica, about 300 miles (480 km) south of the Ross Ice Shelf. This geographic South Pole does not coincide with the magnetic South Pole, from which magnetic compasses point and which lies on the Adélie Coast (at about 66°00′ S, 139°06′ E; the magnetic pole moves about 8 miles [13 km] to the northwest each year). Nor does it coincide with the geomagnetic South Pole, the southern end of the Earth's geomagnetic field (this pole also moves; during the early 1990s it was located about 79°13′ S, 108°44′ E). The geographic pole, at an elevation of some 9,300 feet (2,830 m; the elevation also changes constantly) above sea level, has six months of complete daylight and six months of total darkness each year. Ice thickness is 8,850 feet (2,700 m). First reached by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (Amundsen, Roald) on Dec. 14, 1911, the pole was reached the following year by the British explorer Robert F. Scott and in 1929 by the American explorer Richard E. Byrd. The South Pole is the site of a U.S. station and landing strip (Amundsen-Scott); owing to the movement of the polar ice cap, a new location of the exact rotational pole is marked periodically by station personnel.
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