Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean Santa Claus’ native land fades into non-existence. Do you know these random facts, or frosty factoids if you will, about what really goes on at the top of the globe?
- There are actually two North Poles. The first is the Geographic North Pole, which is, literally, the topmost point of the planet. The other is the North Magnetic Pole, which moves around on a daily basis depending on what’s happening with the earth’s magnetic field.
- There is no land beneath either of the two North Poles. All you’ll find are sheets of ice over bodies of incredibly cold water.
- The North Pole doesn’t technically belong to any nation, but Denmark is making a play for it. The U.S., Norway, Russia, and Canada, would all like to claim at least a portion of the Arctic Circle. Why? Geological surveys indicate that 22 percent of the world’s untapped oil and natural gas are waiting underneath all of that ice. Global warming might also free up many lucrative shipping routes in the Arctic.
- There are many North Pole-themed amusement parks in the world but Santa Claus Village is the only one that’s located within the Arctic Circle. It can be found a few miles north of Rovaniemi, a city in the frosty Lapland region of Finland. The Arctic Circle’s borderline cuts right through the park and there’s even a white line painted across it to let guests know when they’re inside the circle. In addition to restaurants and other Christmas-centric attractions, they can mail postcards stamped with a special Santa Claus postmark.
- Average temperatures in January fluctuate between –45 degrees and –15 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures during the summer months usually hover around freezing. The highest temp ever recorded at the North Pole? A comparatively balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The narwhal lives in the waters around the Arctic Circle. Each of these whales has a tusk between six and ten feet long, earning them the nickname “Unicorns of the Sea.” Back in the 16th century, their “horns” were highly coveted and were said to contain magical curative powers. Supposedly, Queen Elizabeth I paid 10,000 pounds for one.
- There’s a North Pole marathon. After being transported to an international North Pole Camp via helicopters, runners dash along the floating Arctic ice shelf braving temperatures of –22 degrees F, accounting for wind chill. Want to participate? The next one is in April 2014, and the entry fee will set you back just $14,800, but that does include a T-shirt and a medal, but only if you finish.