World Facts

What Is a Pole of Inaccessibility?

A pole of inaccessibility is a point that is difficult to reach due to its geographic remoteness.

A pole of inaccessibility is a difficult location to reach due because of its remoteness and lack of geographic features that provide access. It is also referred to as the farthest point from the shore either in the ocean or on land. A pole of inaccessibility is the epicenter of the largest possible circle drawn without touching the shoreline. It is not a physical location but a geographic paradigm that is subject to different opinion based on the interests of adventurers and explorers.

Northern Pole

The northern pole of inaccessibility, also referred to as the Arctic pole of inaccessibly, lies on the Arctic Ocean pack ice, and is 626 miles from the islands of Ellesmere, Komsomolets, and Henrietta. Permanent structures cannot be constructed on the pole because it is always shifting. Before 2013, the location was marked as 680 miles from the Franz-Josef Land, New Siberian Islands, and Ellesmere, but satellite cartography disapproved the location and mapped the current location as the actual Arctic pole of inaccessibility.

Southern Pole

The southern pole of inaccessibility is a location on Antarctica that is farthest from the Southern Ocean. There is discrepancy concerning the exact location because explorers disagree on whether to measure the distance from the landmass or the ice shelves. Movement of the ice sheets, compounded by inaccurate data survey and topographical errors, have prevented the exact position from being defined. The Soviet Union research station in the region is always considered as the pole of inaccessibility. The now inoperative station, also referred to as Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station, is located 546 miles from the South Pole. When measured from the landmass, the pole of inaccessibility is located at 82°53′14″S 55°4′30″E and 83°50′37″S 65°43′30″E when measured from the closest ice sheet.

Oceanic Pole

The oceanic pole of inaccessibility is located in the South Pacific Ocean, 1,670 miles from the nearest landmass. The location is known as "Point Nemo" which is a Latin translation of "no one." Researchers know the place better as "spacecraft cemetery" because thousands of satellites, space stations, and spacecrafts were purposely disposed of in the location after re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Continental Poles

The Eurasian Continental pole of inaccessibility is located in northwest China, along the border with Kazakhstan. The location is 31 miles from the closest settlement and 1,644 miles from the closest coastline. The North American pole of inaccessibility is located in South Dakota, seven miles north of Allen. The South American pole of inaccessibility is located close to Arenápolis, Brazil. The African pole of inaccessibility is located in the Central African Republic, near the town of Obo and 1,127 miles from the coastline.

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