What does it mean on a Map when it says Pole of Innaccessibility

The Antarctic actually has a few “poles” on the continent. There is the south pole, which is the point of the Earth that is the exact opposite of the north pole, or the very bottom of the Earth.  In 1911, explorer Roald Amundsen and his crew were the first men to reach the south pole.

There is also the magnetic south pole.  This is the pole where the singularity of magnetism exists.  The north pole also has a magnetic north point as well.  If one were to stand on the this point and hold a compass, there would be no “south” if at the south pole, or no “north’, if at the north pole. In other words, this is the very definition of south or north!

Then there is the pole of inaccessibility.  This is the geographic point on the map where it is the furthest point from the oceans.  In Antarctica, the pole of inaccessibility actually has a research station there, built by the Russians during the International Geophysical years of 1957-58.  It is unmanned and is used for research work such as meteorological observations. It was first reached in 1958, and there is a bust of Lenin there. It is considered a protected historical site by the Russians, and the bust is visible but the hut is totally buried by snow.  This remote area also is noted for having the world’s coldest average temperature at 72 degrees below zero. That is frigid!

The Russians decided that it was too dangerous and far too remote to keep this research site manned year-round due to it’s distance and the difficulty in getting there in case of emergencies. So it is visited not only by the Russians, but other countries as well on a temporary basis. It is a scientifically valuable resource, however.

When explorer Ernest Shackleton was engaged in his famous Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914, his goal was to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent. It’s possible he would have been the first to arrive at the Inaccessibilty Pole, but in fact Shackleton never even reached the Antarctic continent, as his ship, Endurance, got stuck in the Weddell Sea pack ice during the long, dark Antarctic winter!

Every continent has a pole if inaccessibility, it is just the furthest point from the oceans at all sides.  For that matter every country has a point as well, and the United States has its point in South Dakota. It is another interesting marking on a map that mystifies many people, but there is really no mystery to it.