New Year, new Pole

The ice I’m standing on is about 9000ft thick and is moving about 10 meters per year. The entire ice sheet is slowing moving towards the Weddell Sea, generally westward. As the ice sheet moves, it takes our home with it, and the marker identifying the Geographic South Pole. In order to compensate for this, each year the marker is moved. On January 1, a new marker is unveiled at the official Geographic South Pole, 900 South. No longitude is given, as it is, for all intents and purposes, irrelevant. The old marker is relocated to a glass case inside the elevated station. It will sit there next to all the old markers for posterity.

So on Jan1, 2017, at 1930 hours NZT, after a short ceremony, the new Geographic South Pole was designated. As the ice is continually moving, this is the only time when we would be standing at the point where every direction is north. By the 2nd, the Pole will have moved ever so slightly. We gathered for pictures and to celebrate the New Year.

The marker is made by the winter-over crew.  This year’s marker has the dates of the summer and winter solstice on the sides, with the sun above and Southern Cross below. It will slowly migrate westward over the next year until it is replaced next year and the cycle repeats.

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