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Where is Santa?

And why do I live in the the North Pole?

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Just about every child knows that my home and workshop are at the North Pole, but not many people know why I chose to live and work in such a remote place. I used to live further south, but I relocated to the North Pole several hundred years ago. Here is my list of…

Top Reasons for Living at the North Pole
  • It’s a great climate for the reindeer
  • I get to use the sleigh all year round
  • Jack Frost introduced me to a real estate agent up here who got me a great deal
  • It’s ALWAYS candy cane hockey season
  • The terrain matches my hair and beard
  • Christmas trees look best with a dusting of snow
  • I can snowboard to work every day
  • I save thousands on air conditioning
  • I look great in sweaters
  • Shoveling snow is fantastic cardio

Ok, those are all benefits of living up here, but none of them are the real reason. Honestly, I moved up here so I could make sure everyone’s present would be a surprise on Christmas morning. Everyone knows it’s not nice to spy, but when I lived down south, some people—even people on the Nice List—were tempted to peek into my workshop (which is an offense worth 10 Naughty Points!). I didn’t want to see so many people end up on the Naughty List, so I decided to help everyone out by putting my workshop in a hard-to-find spot.

You might be thinking, “But Santa, the North Pole isn’t hard to find! It’s clearly marked on every map and globe!” That’s true, but it’s not as specific a location as you might think. To actually visit the North Pole, you first have to decide which North Pole you want to find…

You see, scientists who study these things have defined the Geographic North Pole as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the axis of the Earth’s rotation meets the surface of the planet. That makes it the northernmost place on Earth; if you are standing on the North Pole, a step in any direction is a step to the south! It’s also directly opposite the South Pole down in Antarctica, but unlike its southern cousin, the North Pole is not located on a landmass. The Geographic North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean—the nearest land is an island owned by Greenland, over 400 miles away—so at any given moment the pole is located on a mass of moving sea ice.

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Another thing that makes it hard to pinpoint the pole exactly is the Earth’s natural wobble. Mathematicians had suspected that the Earth’s rotation had a wobble since the 1700s, but it wasn’t until 1891 that astronomer Seth Chandler found proof of it. Chandler’s Wobble causes little variations (up to 30 feet or so) in the exact location of the pole. To be very accurate, the precise spot where the pole lies at any given moment is known as the Instantaneous North Pole.

Another way to find the North Pole is to use a compass. (Of course, when I need to find the pole I just ask Rudolph, but most people don’t have that option.) In theory, you could simply keep going north until your compass begins to spin, but an even more accurate way to find it would be to construct a compass that can rotate three-dimensionally. At the North Magnetic Pole, the needle would point straight down at the ground! This point is dictated by the magnetic field of the Earth’s molten crust, so as it shifts about, so does this pole—it’s not even directly opposite the South Magnetic Pole because of this fluid movement of the Earth’s magma. It’s actually over 300 miles away from the Geographic North Pole!

That’s not all: there is yet another “North Pole.” Researchers discovered that the strength of the magnetic field of the earth varies widely at ground level, but high in the air it is more evenly distributed. By taking magnetic readings in the stratosphere, scientists located the very Northern end of the magnetic field, an area that is over a mile across. This is the Geomagnetic North Pole, and it is also located several hundred miles from the other North Poles.

So you see, even though everyone knows that my workshop is at the “North Pole” it’s still pretty hard to find. Luckily, I deliver!

Favorite Poem

A visit from St. Nicholas Poem by Clement Clarke Moore

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