EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Community News Network

December 24, 2013

5 myths about the North Pole

Forget Santa Claus's ethnicity — what's his nationality? Canada's recent announcement that it may try to extend its territory to include the North Pole has led to a debate over who owns this Arctic area, about 1.3 times the size of the United States. Let's consider some of the biggest misconceptions about the North Pole and how its landscape is changing.

1. The North Pole is just like the South Pole.

Many often look at pictures of the North Pole and wonder where the penguins are. Did the polar bears eat them?

Of course, both poles are extreme environments with exceedingly cold temperatures during the winter months, and both have weeks-long periods of complete darkness or perpetual daylight. In addition to the fact that polar bears live in the North Pole region and penguins in the South, the two areas are very different in their politics and people. The South Pole is on a continent with no indigenous population, while the North Pole is in an ocean almost completely surrounded by coastal states — Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (via Greenland) and the United States (via Alaska) — with inhabitants who have lived in the region for a long time.

The rules, laws and practices defining the areas are poles apart. For example, the South Pole is governed by a treaty outlining what can be done there (mainly scientific research) and what cannot (resource development and military functions). Activity at the North Pole follows maritime treaties and international law. In other words, anything that can be done in any other ocean can take place at the North Pole. The South Pole cannot be claimed by any one state. But almost all of the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, including the region surrounding the North Pole, can be.

2. Canada, Russia and Denmark are each attempting a North Pole land grab.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
Community News Network

NDN Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Photos of the Week