Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Could We Sail to the North Pole but not to the South Pole?

A journey by sea to the North Pole with an ice-breaking ship of sufficient strength and large amounts of explosives is possible in theory, although it has never been achieved.

But the South Pole is in the middle of a great land mass, the continent of Antarctica. This uninhabited land surface varies from basins more than 8,000 feet below sea level to mountains well over 13,000 feet high.

The South Pole was first reached, after a 53-day march, by a Norwegian party led by Raold Amundsen, in December 1911. Amundsen’s expedition travelled on foot and on sledges drawn by dogs. It beat Captain Robert Scotts’ party by a month.

An American party first reached the North Pole, but there is no absolute proof which one it was. The honour is most often given to the team led by Robert E. Peary who reached the Pole on April 6, 1909. Claims that Dr. F. A. Cook reached the spot with two Eskimos, two sledges and 26 dogs in April 1908 are now generally doubted.

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