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Arctic Geology > Geographic North Pole 25 July 2008 by Ella Derbyshire

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Ella Derbyshire Ella Derbyshire
Explore score
Print Pricing
$56.00 to $178.00
0.16 Gigapixels
Date added
Aug 10, 2008
Date taken
Jul 24, 2008

Nikon D80's

environmental, geology, landscape, nature

The North Pole. I suppose that the best way to think of the North Pole is to consider a single point on the sea bed under the Arctic Ocean where all the Earth's lines of longitude converge. It is the one point in the Northern Hemisphere around which our planet turns, and its position now is marked by a titanium flag that was recently placed on the ocean floor by the Russian Federation.

Above the North Pole and that Russian flag we have 4261 meters of salt water and a layer of sea ice that varies in thickness from 1 to 3 meters depending on the time of year and the temperatures of the air above it and the water beneath it.

The Arctic ice cap moves relative to the sea floor. The moving ice provides no permanent foundation for a research station of even a camera or a flag. The ice that was on the ocean’s surface above the North Pole when I was there on July 25, 2008 has since moved on to somewhere south. Indeed, this ice had shifted several miles before we left the vicinity of the North Pole later in the day on the 25 of July.

Early polar explorers had a difficult time reaching the North Pole in part because of the moving target. The ice could move faster than they could move. Expeditions lasted years as they wandered on the shifting pack ice. The location of the Pole had to be calculated using the height of the sun, and it had to confirmed mathematically many times as the explorers approached 90 degrees North. When explorers stopped for their calculations, the ice still moved them along so that their calculated position would no longer be correct.

Our journey took only a few days, and confirmation of our arrival at the North Pole required no sextant or calculator. We arrived at the Pole on an ice breaker, and our position at 90 degrees North Latitude was confirmed by GPS.

There is a prediction that global warming will melt the north polar ice during this century. There was even a suggestion that the Pole might thaw this summer, which was not true at the end of July.

You can see other panoramas from our Polar expedition on the gigapan.org web site.

Gigapan Comments (4)

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  1. Ella Derbyshire

    Ella Derbyshire (August 31, 2009, 01:05PM )

    If you are wondering about the differences between the North Pole and the South Pole, you can see images of the South Pole on this gigapan site. www.gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id= 11612.

  2. rose

    rose (August 17, 2008, 09:49AM )

    That's just awesome. Perhaps this will be the only panoramic of the pole before it liquifies. ...But where is the red and white stripped pole my Mom told me would be there!

  3. Ron Schott

    Ron Schott (August 12, 2008, 09:22PM )

    Holy Mackerel, Ella you sure do get around with that GigaPan! I wonder if you'll have troubles geo-coding this one properly... and how it will show up in Google Earth if you are successful. Anyhow, keep up the great work!

  4. Illah Nourbakhsh

    Illah Nourbakhsh (August 10, 2008, 02:33PM )

    So, so cool to see the honest-to-goodness North Pole!! And great to see ice where some were afraid the ice would be gone.

Where in the World is this GigaPan?


Stitcher Notes


GigaPan Stitcher version 0.4.2735 (Windows)
Panorama size: 161 megapixels (39407 x 4089 pixels)
Input images: 10 (10 columns by 1 rows)
Field of view: 0.2 degrees wide by 0.0 degrees high (top=-74.1, bottom=-74.2)
All default settings
Original image properties:
Camera model: NIKON D80
Image size: 3872x2592 (10.0 megapixels)
Aperture: f/11
Exposure time: 0.002 - 0.0025
ISO: 200
Focal length (35mm equiv.): 42.0 mm
Digital zoom: off
White balance: Automatic
Exposure mode: Automatic
Has subsecond timestamp: no
Horizontal overlap: 68.8 to 79.0 percent
Computer stats: 3069.31 MB RAM, 2 CPUs
Total time 21:46 (2:10 per picture)
Alignment: 1:26, Projection: 2:21, Blending: 17:59

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