For as long as anyone can remember, the North Pole has always been a place on Earth that is wrapped in both fantasy and mystery. There has always been a great deal of fascination with this place.
As you may know, the North Pole is supposedly the place that Santa Claus calls home. Hence, many Christmas stories refer to it as the location of Santa’s workshop. Meanwhile, some children also believe that this is exactly where you would find hardworking elves and flying reindeers.
Well, beyond all these holiday tales, there are also several number of other assumptions that people have formed regarding the North Pole. Unfortunately, a lot of them are just plain wrong. In fact, let’s take a look at 15 myths people often believe about the North Pole, along with five that are very much true:
20 Myth: The North Pole is a fixed location
If you think you can reach the North Pole the way you reach other destinations, you’re quite wrong. That’s because, for starters, this place is on water.
According to the National Geographic, “The North Pole sits in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, on water that is almost always covered with ice. The ice is about 2-3 meters (6-10 feet) thick. The depth of the ocean at the North Pole is more than 4,000 meters (13,123 feet).”
19 Myth: There is only one North Pole
When you say the North Pole, you could easily be referring to two locations. That’s because there is the geographic North Pole and the magnetic North Pole.
And as Scientific American has explained, “The North magnetic pole is located to the south in Northern Canada; the geographic South pole is at the center of the Antarctic continent, but the magnetic pole is hundreds of miles away, near the coast.”
18 Myth: There is no ecosystem here
The North Pole may be in the middle of the Arctic, but that doesn’t mean that there is no ecosystem here.
In fact, according to the National Geographic, you can find some “above-ice inhabitants” such as migratory birds like the fulmar and Arctic tern. There are also some Arctic foxes and a few polar bears.
17 Myth: There’s nothing you can eat at the North Pole
Aside from the birds, foxes, and bears, there are creatures that thrive in the North Pole. And fortunately, these creatures can keep you fed if you plan to venture out here.
According to Live Science, you can find some fishes here, like the Arctic cod. Moreover, there are also some shrimp and other small crustaceans under the ice.
16 Myth: It is the coldest place on Earth
Sure, it can get pretty cold in the North Pole. However, it is not exactly the coldest place on Earth. In fact, it can even get much colder in the South Pole than here.
According to Scientific American, “What makes the South Pole so much colder than the North Pole is that it sits on top of a very thick ice sheet, which itself sits on a continent. The surface of the ice sheet at the South Pole is more than 9,000 feet in elevation--more than a mile and a half above sea level.”
15 Myth: No one’s interested in going to the North Pole
According to the National Geographic, “The possibility of an ice-free trade route between Europe, North America, and Asia makes the North Pole an economically valuable territory. Oil and gas exploration have proved lucrative in other parts of the Arctic, and the possibility of extractive activity around the North Pole's seabed interests many businesses, scientists, and engineers.”
14 Myth: Important research doesn’t happen here
For many years, scientists have been trying to extract as much data from the North Pole as they can. However, doing so can be quite tricky. In fact, here, they’ve had to set up some drifting research stations for their studies.
According to National Geographic, “Drifting stations monitor the ice pack, temperature, sea depth, currents, weather conditions, and marine biology of the North Pole.”
13 Myth: People don’t really think it’s as remarkable as Mount Everest
Sure, a lot of people talk about climbing Mount Everest. However, there are also several people who have been dreaming of exploring the North Pole. To make this happen, we suggest that you don’t go on your own.
Instead, join an experienced expedition team. Some expedition cruises simply take you to Antartica. However, others also travel to nearby countries such as Russia and Iceland.
12 Myth: The North Pole has no seasons
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Laboratory (PMEL), the seasons change at the North Pole throughout the year. The Winter Solstice approximately takes place on December 21. Meanwhile, the Spring Equinox is approximately March 21.
At the same time, this place also experiences summer and autumn. In fact, the Autumn Equinox is approximately September 21.
11 Myth: This place has no laws
According to About Time Magazine, “The waters at and surrounding the North Pole are governed by the same international laws that apply to all other oceans. As the ice there begins to melt, the water above the seabed will remain international waters. If, as the sea warms, new stocks of fish move to the waters in and around the North Pole, then international fishing fleets will have the right to pursue them.”
10 Myth: The North Pole doesn’t experience bad weather
The North Pole also falls victim to terrifying forces of nature from time to time. In fact, back in 2015, ABC News reported that a storm system caused the temperatures to rise by about 50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in this area.
Because of this, many believed that the North Pole suddenly “unfroze.”
9 Myth: You can only reach this place through a magical open sleigh
Believe it or not, there are several ways that you can reach the North Pole. However, a magical flying sleigh is not one of them.
According to Trip Savvy, “Most visitors will actually sail there aboard ships specifically designed to cut through the crushing ice found in the Arctic Ocean. Others will go through a place called the Barneo Ice Camp, which is a temporary base built by a team of Russian engineers on a floating slab of ice each spring.”
8 Myth: No one can reach the North Pole on foot
It may be an arduous quest, but someone has done this successfully before. Sir Walter William "Wally" Herbert was a British explorer who is credited for this very achievement.
According to the American Polar Society, “Herbert made history in 1968-69, when he led the British Trans-Arctic Expedition (BTAE) with dog-sleds from Point Barrow, Alaska, to the North Pole, via the Pole of Inaccessibility, to become the first without doubt to have reached the Pole on foot.”
7 Myth: Travel to the North Pole would remain nearly impossible in the future
It is believed that as time goes by, travel to the North Pole would become more manageable. As explained in the Smithsonian Magazine, “Melting sea ice will open up shipping lanes across the Arctic, potentially making the Northwest Passage and North Pole navigable during summer.”
If this happens, you can certainly expect a lot more explorers and vacationers making their way to the North Pole.
6 Myth: It is its own country
According to Travel and Leisure, “With no land to be claimed, the North Pole and its surrounding high seas do not belong to any country. The same goes for the Geographic North Pole’s cousin, the North Magnetic Pole, which is the point on Earth where the planet’s magnetic field points directly downwards (imagine a needle on a compass).”
5 Truth: Canada gave Santa at the North Pole his own postal code
At the moment, there are several countries trying to stake a claim on the North Pole. One of which happens to be Canada. And so, to honor this part of the world, it decided to create a unique postal code for the North Pole.
This code is “HOH OHO.” That’s basically the country’s way of honoring Santa Claus, who supposedly resides here.
4 Truth: Santa’s Workshop is on a different North Pole
We hate to break it to you, but Santa’s Workshop is not located in the North Pole. At least, it’s not on the North Pole floating in the middle of an ocean. Instead, there is a Santa’s Workshop that can be found in North Pole, New York.
Meanwhile, there is also one in North Pole Alaska.
3 Truth: Sometimes, it gets constant sunlight
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s PMEL, “The North Pole stays in full sunlight all day long throughout the entire summer (unless there are clouds), and this is the reason that the Arctic is called the land of the "Midnight Sun"*. After the Summer Solstice, the sun starts to sink towards the horizon.”
2 Truth: It is also a victim of global warming
Unfortunately, global warming has been wreaking havoc all over the North Pole. According to the Arctic Report Card, “The magnitude and pace of the 21st-century sea ice and surface ocean warming decline is unprecedented in at least the last 1500 years and likely much longer.”
Furthermore, the report stated, “Arctic shows no sign of returning to the reliably frozen region it was decades ago.”
1 Truth: The North Pole is timeless
According to National Geographic, “Time is calculated using longitude. For instance, when the sun seems directly overhead, the local time is about noon. However, all lines of longitude meet at the poles, and the sun is only overhead twice a year (at the equinoxes.)
For this reason, scientists and explorers at the poles record time-related data using whatever time zone they want.”
Sources - National Geographic, Scientific American, Live Science, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Laboratory & About Time Magazine