Earth Science - Other

Who Owns the North and South Poles

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"Who Owns the North and South Poles"
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Before I answer the question, we must first know more about the North and South Poles are.

The North Pole is an imaginary point where every longitude line converges. The North Pole is physically an ocean, more specifically the Arctic Ocean, which is surrounded by the continents of Asia, Europe, and North America. People are able to walk on ice cap, but cannot live there due to the extreme climate.

The South Pole is located on the continent Antarctica, which is surrounded by the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Antarctic Oceans. The South Pole is situated on the extreme south of the Earth, where lines of longitude again converge. The thickness of Antarctica's averages at about 1600m thick, the average elevation is 2300m, and the highest point is 4100m.

Going back to the question "Who owns the North and South Poles?" we will look at the North Pole first.

Under international law, no country owns the North Pole or the Arctic Ocean surrounding it. The countries surrounding the pole, which are Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and the United States, are limited to a 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone around their coast. Also, the North Pole is an icecap, which is always on a drift, making it impossible to occupy and embark any portion of the North Pole. But things are still complicated in spite of the facts above .Canada raises territorial rights for navigation for a portion of the Northwest Passage that is touching the pole. Russia also claims part of the North Pole by sending their Eskimos hunting for aquatic life. These issues have so far been solved, but who knows what might happen later. Complications could develop into an international dispute. On the bright side, no country can permanently deploy armed forces permanently there to claim their sovereignty.

The South Pole was different. When it was discovered in the early 1800's, Antarctica did not have any inhabitants except for wild and marine life. Antarctica still does not have a population. There are no villages or cities, only some research stations populated with scientists, whom are replaced in a year or so by similar men. These labs are doing research on the mainland and the surrounding islands.

Seven nations, which are Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Norway, claimed territorial rights to parts of Antarctica during the early 20th century. However, in 1961, the Antarctic Treaty was signed by these nations and other nations. The treaty states that all nations will put their territorial claims aside for the interest of co operational scientific research. The country was dedicated for peaceful scientific research. Also, it suspended territorial claims by any nation. In 1991, 24 nations approved an addendum to the treaty, banning all oil and mineral explorations for at least 50 years.

And so, I will say that the answer to the question is nobody.

More about this author: Darien Santmyer

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