Sunday, 13 May 2018

Welcome to the South Pole

Just like the welcome sign you see whenever you enter a city, a visitor to the South Pole is greeted by a sign too. This sign is located near a marker which identifies the exact geographical location of the South Pole.

south pole marker 

But this marker does not remain at the same place for ever. The ice on top of Antarctica is constantly moving a few meters per year, so a new marker is installed once a year. Notice on the picture above. You can see a line of them just to the left of the flag going back into the distance.

The two names on the sign are Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott, the two great explorers who were the first to make it to the south pole. Amundsen (a Norwegian) beat Scott (a British) by a month. Amundsen's group managed to return from the pole with success, while Scott's group all perished on the return trip.

The quote from Amundsen on the sign is:
"So we arrived and were able to plant our flag at the geographical South Pole."

while the quote from Scott on the sign is:
"The Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected."

The South Pole station, which is located very near to the south pole, is named after these two great explorers, the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The building behind the sign, in the following picture, is this station. This station was built and is operated by the US Antarctic Program, and hence the U.S. flag.

south pole station

The following picture is the ceremonial marker for the south pole. The flags around the reflective chrome ball represent the twelve signatory countries of the original Antarctic Treaty: UK, Austrailia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, US, Norway, France, Argentina, Japan, Belgium, Russia (USSR).

cerimonial south pole marker

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