What is the South Pole?
A: The South Pole is one of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface.
It is the southernmost point on Earth and lies
antipodally on the opposite side of Earth from what?
A: The North Pole, at a distance of 12,430 miles (20,004 km) in all directions.
Situated on the continent of Antarctica, it is the site of what?
A: The United States Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, which was established in 1956 and has been permanently staffed since that year.
The Geographic South Pole is distinct from what?
A: The South Magnetic Pole, the position of which is defined based on Earth's magnetic field.
The South Pole is at the center of what?
A: The Southern Hemisphere.
For most purposes, the Geographic South Pole is defined
A: The southern point of the two points where Earth's axis of rotation intersects its surface (the other being the Geographic North Pole).
However, Earth's axis of rotation is actually subject to very small what?
A: "Wobbles" (polar motion), so this definition is not adequate for very precise work.
The geographic coordinates of the South Pole are
usually given simply as what?
A: 90°S since its longitude is geometrically undefined and irrelevant.
When a longitude is desired, it may be given as what?
At the South Pole, all directions face where?
For this reason, directions at the Pole are given
relative to what?
A: "Grid north", which points northward along the prime meridian.
Along tight latitude circles clockwise are what?
A: East, and anti-clockwise is west, opposite to the North Pole.
The Geographic South Pole is presently located on what
A: Antarctica, although this has not been the case for all of Earth's history because of continental drift.
It sits atop a featureless, barren, windswept and icy
plateau at what altitude?
A: Of 2,835 m (9,301 ft) above sea level and is located about 1,300 km (810 mi) from the nearest open sea at the Bay of Whales.
The ice is estimated to be how thick?
A: About 2,700 m (8,900 ft) thick at the Pole, so the land surface under the ice sheet is actually near sea level.
The polar ice sheet is moving at a rate of roughly 10 m
(33 ft) per year in a direction between 37° and 40° west of grid north, down
A: The Weddell Sea.
Therefore, the position of the station and other
artificial features relative to the geographic pole do what?
A: Gradually shift over time.
The Geographic South Pole is marked by what?
A: A stake in the ice alongside a small sign; these are repositioned each year in a ceremony on New Year's Day to compensate for the movement of the ice.
The sign records the respective dates that Roald
Amundsen and Robert F. Scott reached the Pole, followed by what?
A: A short quotation from each man, and gives the elevation as "9,301 FT."
A new marker stake is designed and fabricated each year
A: Staff at the site.
The Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for
A: Photo opportunities at the South Pole Station.
It is located some meters from the Geographic South
Pole, and consists of what?
A: A metallic sphere on a short barber pole, surrounded by the flags of the original Antarctic Treaty signatory states.
The first men to reach the Geographic South Pole were
A: The Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his party on 14 December 1911.
Robert Falcon Scott returned to Antarctica with his
second expedition, the Terra Nova Expedition, initially unaware of what?
A: Amundsen's secretive expedition.
When did Scott and four other men reach the South Pole?
A: On 17 January 1912, thirty-four days after Amundsen.
On the return trip, what happened to Scott and his four
A: They all died of starvation and extreme cold.