Pole of inaccessibility

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Map of distance to the nearest coastline (including oceanic islands, but not lakes) with red spots marking the main poles of inaccessibility. Thin isolines are 250 km apart; thick lines 1000 km. Mollweide projection.

A pole of inaccessibility marks a location that is the most challenging to reach owing to its remoteness from geographical features which could provide access. The term describes a geographic construct, not an actual physical phenomenon, and is of interest mostly to explorers.


[edit] Northern pole of inaccessibility

Northern pole of inaccessibility

The northern pole of inaccessibility (84°03′N 174°51′W / 84.05°N 174.85°W / 84.05; -174.85 (Northern Pole of Inaccessibility)) is located on the Arctic Ocean pack ice at a distance farthest from any land mass. It is 661 km (411 statute miles) from the North Pole, 1,453 km (903 mi) north of Barrow, Alaska, and equidistant from the closest landmasses, Ellesmere Island and Franz-Josef Land, 1,094 km (680 mi) away. It was first reached by Sir Hubert Wilkins, who flew by aircraft in 1927; in 1958 a Russian icebreaker reached this point. Owing to the constant motion of the pack ice, no permanent structure can exist at the pole.

[edit] Southern pole of inaccessibility

Southern Pole of inaccessibility
The old Soviet Pole of Inaccessibility station, revisited by Team N2i on 19 January 2007

The southern pole of inaccessibility is the point on the Antarctic continent most distant from the Southern Ocean. A variety of different coordinate locations have been given for this pole. The discrepancies are due to the question of whether the "coast" is measured to the grounding line or to the edges of ice shelves, the difficulty of determining the location of the "solid" coastline, the movement of ice sheets and improvements in the accuracy of survey data over the years, as well as possible typographical errors[citation needed]. The Pole of Inaccessibility is commonly referred to the site of the Soviet Union research station mentioned below, which lies at 82°06′S 54°58′E / 82.1°S 54.967°E / -82.1; 54.967 (Pole of Inaccessibility (WMO))[1] (though some sources give 83°06′S 54°58′E / 83.1°S 54.967°E / -83.1; 54.967 (Pole of Inaccessibility (IPHC))[2]). This lies 878 km (545 statute miles) from the South Pole, at an elevation of 3,718 m (12,198 ft). Using different criteria, the Scott Polar Research Institute locates the Pole at 85°50′S 65°47′E / 85.833°S 65.783°E / -85.833; 65.783 (Pole of Inaccessibility (SPRI)),[3].

According to ThePoles.com, the point farthest from the sea accounting only for the Antarctic land surface proper is at 82°53′14″S 55°4′30″E / 82.88722°S 55.075°E / -82.88722; 55.075 (point farthest from the sea), and the farthest point when ice sheets are taken into account is 83°50′37″S 65°43′30″E / 83.84361°S 65.725°E / -83.84361; 65.725 (point farthest from the sea counting ice). These points, calculated by the British Antarctic Survey, are quoted as being "the most accurate measure available" (as of 2005).[4]

The southern pole of inaccessibility is far more remote and difficult to reach than the Geographic South Pole. On 14 December 1958, the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition for International Geophysical Year research work, led by Yevgeny Tolstikov, established the temporary Pole of Inaccessibility Station (Polyus Nedostupnosti) at 82°06′S 54°58′E / 82.1°S 54.967°E / -82.1; 54.967 (Pole of Inaccessibility Station). A second Russian team returned there in 1967. Today a building still remains at this location, marked by a bust of Vladimir Lenin that faces towards Moscow, and it is protected as a historical site. Inside the building there is a golden visitors' book for those who make it to the site to sign. However, as of 2007, only the bust on top of the building is visible – the rest is buried under the snow.[5]

On December 11, 2005, at 7:57 UTC, Ramón Larramendi, Juan Manuel Viu, and Ignacio Oficialdegui, members of the Spanish Transantarctic Expedition, reached for the first time in history the South Pole of Inaccessibility at 82°53′14″S 55°04′30″E / 82.88722°S 55.075°E / -82.88722; 55.075 (British Antarctic Survey-accredited Pole of Inaccessibility) updated that year by the British Antarctic Survey. The team continued their journey towards the second South Pole of Inaccessibility, the one that accounts the continental land as well as the ice-shelves, and they were the first expedition to reach it on December 14, 2005, at 83°50′37″S 65°43′30″E / 83.84361°S 65.725°E / -83.84361; 65.725 (British Antarctic Survey-accredited Pole of Inaccessibility). Both achivements took place within an ambitious pioneer crossing of the eastern Antarctic Plateau that started at Novolazerevskaya Base and ended at Progress Base after more than 4.500 km. This was the fastest polar journey ever achieved without mechanical aid, with an average rate of around 90 km/day and maximum 311 km/day, using kites as power source.[6][7][8][9]

On December 4, 2006, Team N2i consisting of Henry Cookson, Rupert Longsdon, Rory Sweet and Paul Landry embarked on an expedition to be the first to reach the historic Pole of Inaccessibility location without direct mechanical assistance, using a combination of traditional man hauling and kite skiing. The team reached the old abandoned station on 20 January 2007 re-discovering the forgotten statue of Lenin left there by the Soviets some 48 years previously. The explorers were picked up from the spot by a plane from Vostok base to Progress and taken back to Cape Town on the Academic Federov, a Russian Ice Breaker.[10].

Due to technology constantly being updated and the exact position of the contenental edge of Antarctica being debated, the exact position of the Pole of Inaccessibility will constantly be amended as measurements become more precise. It has been recognised that due to the Soviets being the first people to reach this destination, and by the fact that they left the Lenin as a monument to this feat, that this point is considered the true Pole of Inaccessibility when considering 'sport' expeditions.

This has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records in regards to Team N2i's expedition in 2006/7.

[edit] Oceanic pole of inaccessibility

Oceanic pole of inaccessibility

The oceanic pole of inaccessibility (48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W / 48.8767°S 123.3933°W / -48.8767; -123.3933 (Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility)), also called Point Nemo (and R'lyeh in the Cthulhu Mythos, though R'lyeh is off by several degrees at 47°9′S 126°43′W / 47.15°S 126.717°W / -47.15; -126.717 (R'lyeh fictional location (Lovecraft))[11]), is the place in the ocean that is farthest from land. It lies in the South Pacific Ocean, 2,688 km (1,670 mi or 1,451 NM) from the nearest lands: Ducie Island (part of the Pitcairn Islands) in the north, Motu Nui (part of the Easter Islands) in the north-east, and Maher Island (near the larger Siple Island, off the coast of Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica) in the south. Chatham Island lies farther west, and Southern Chile in the east.

[edit] Continental pole of inaccessibility

[edit] Eurasia

Continental pole of inaccessibility EPIA1
Location map of the Pole of Inaccessibility (PIA) of Eurasia

The Continental Pole of Inaccessibility (46°17′N 86°40′E / 46.283°N 86.667°E / 46.283; 86.667 (Continental Pole of Inaccessibility)) is the place on land that is farthest from the ocean. It lies in Eurasia, in northern China and is 2,645 km (1,645 mi) from the nearest coastline. It is located approximately 320 km (200 mi) north of the city of Ürümqi, in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China, in the Dzoosotoyn Elisen Desert. The nearest settlements are Hoxtolgay at 46°34′N 85°58′E / 46.567°N 85.967°E / 46.567; 85.967 (Hoxtolgay), about 30 miles (48 km) to the north west, Xazgat at 46°20′N 86°22′E / 46.333°N 86.367°E / 46.333; 86.367 (Xazgat) about 13 miles (21 km) to the west, and Suluk at 46°15′N 86°50′E / 46.25°N 86.833°E / 46.25; 86.833 (Suluk) about 7 miles (11 km) to the east.[12]

However, the previous pole location disregards the Gulf of Ob as part of the oceans, and a recent study[13] proposes two other locations as the ones farther from any ocean (within the uncertainty of coastline definition): EPIA1 44°17′N 82°11′E / 44.29°N 82.19°E / 44.29; 82.19 and EPIA2 45°17′N 88°08′E / 45.28°N 88.14°E / 45.28; 88.14, located respectively at 2510±10 km and 2514±7 km from the oceans. [13]

Coincidentally, the continental and oceanic poles of inaccessibility have a similar radius; the Eurasian poles EPIA1 and EPIA2 are ~178 km closer to the ocean than the oceanic pole is to land.

[edit] North America

In North America, the continental pole of inaccessibility is in southwest South Dakota (43°26′N 102°23′W / 43.433°N 102.383°W / 43.433; -102.383 (Continental Pole of Inaccessibility in North America))[citation needed], located 1650 km (1024 mi) from the nearest coastline. An alternative documented[13] location is 43°22′N 101°58′W / 43.36°N 101.97°W / 43.36; -101.97 (Pole of Inaccessibility North America).

[edit] South America

In South America, the continental pole of inaccessibility is in 14°03′S 56°51′W / 14.05°S 56.85°W / -14.05; -56.85 (Continental Pole of Inaccessibility in South America)[13]

[edit] Australia

In Australia, the continental pole of inaccessibility is located at 23°2′S 132°10′E / 23.033°S 132.167°E / -23.033; 132.167 (Australian Pole of Inaccessibility),[14] 920 km (572 mi) from the nearest coastline. The nearest town is Haasts Bluff, Northern Territory, about 56 km to the south-west. An alternative published[13] location is 23°10′S 132°16′E / 23.17°S 132.27°E / -23.17; 132.27 (Continental Pole of Inaccessibility of Australia).

[edit] Africa

In Africa (5°39′N 26°10′E / 5.65°N 26.17°E / 5.65; 26.17), the PIA is 1814 km from the coast,[13] in a place close to where the borders of Central African Republic, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo meet, also close to the town of Obo.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Catalogue of Russian Antarctic Meteorological data 1994, World Meteorological Organization, retrieved June 2007
  2. ^ Historic Sites & Monuments in Antarctica, International Polar Heritage Committee
  3. ^ Polar Information Sheets, Scott Polar Research Institute, retrieved June 2007
  4. ^ "Spaniards reach the 'second' South Pole of Inaccessibility - still no trace of Lenin", ThePoles.com, December 15, 2005, retrieved June 2007
  5. ^ team n2i website uploaded jan 2007
  6. ^ http://www.thepoles.com/news.php?id=1276
  7. ^ http://www.barrabes.com/revista/articulo_ant.asp?idArticulo=4549
  8. ^ http://www.tierraspolares.es/catamaran/inaccesibilidad_i.htm
  9. ^ http://www.thepoles.com/news.php?id=1298
  10. ^ "UK team makes polar trek history", BBC news story, retrieved June 2007
  11. ^ Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. "III: The Madness from the Sea" (in English). The Call of Cthulhu. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Call_of_Cthulhu/Chapter_III. 
  12. ^ [1] Map of the region around the Continental Pole of Inaccessibility, showing relative locations of Hoxtolgay, Xazgat and Suluk, from MSN Maps.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Garcia-Castellanos, D.; U. Lombardo (2007). "Poles of Inaccessibility: A Calculation Algorithm for the Remotest Places on Earth". Scottish Geographical Journal 123 (3): 227–233. doi:10.1080/14702540801897809. 
  14. ^ Centre of Australia, States and Territories, Geoscience Australia

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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