Antarctica: As Far South as South Goes


“There is no probability, that any other
detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will ever be found in a more southern latitude;
the name Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance
of this country, and of its situation on the globe”
That was written in 1814 by Matthew Flinders. He was talking about Australia. Whoops. So I said this in my Columbus video but it
bears repeating. People have known that the world was round,
or spherical, since the Ancient Greeks. But of course, since Europe, North Africa,
and bits of Asia were the only lands they knew about, people like Aristotle and Ptolemy
hypothesized that if these were the only lands, the globe would be too top heavy and wouldn’t
be in a stable rotation – but would wobble around like a top. So there must be some sort of land mass in
the southern hemisphere in order to balance things out. Just like America, names for this hypothesized
land switched around for a while. The first official depiction of it on a map
was by Shoner in 1523. I’d show you a picture, but this is one
of the few lost great works of geography. But in this drawing from 1483, which is just
an imagining of an Ancient Greek book by Cicero, the hypothesized continent is named Teperata
Antipodum Nobis Incognita – The Unknown Temperate Lands on the Opposite Side of the
World. Geez, look at you getting fancy with the latin. I know right? Would you believe it if I told you I didn’t
even have to google that… recently. Anyway, that’s a bit of a mouthful, so later,
in 1570, it was just named Terra Australis, for Southern Land. That one I straight up didn’t have to google. Although, side note for those of you who watched
my Columbus video, look at the name for America on this map. America Sive India Nova. Which means “America or… New India.” I told you, people didn’t settle on names
for places for a long time. So anyway, people went along calling the as
yet unknown, but hypothesized and yet somehow mapped southern continent “Terra Australis”
for about 250 years. In 1606, a new continent was discovered in
the southern hemisphere and named New Holland. But only the eastern half had been really
charted and settled, so even into the late 1700’s, it was thought that maybe it was
still connected to a larger southern landmass, the Terra Australis. Like in this map from 1744, literally called
“A Complete Map of the Southern Continent.” So like, I guess words just don’t have meaning
anymore if this counts as “complete.” Anyway, the British started taking the continent
over from the Dutch and started a colony in the west called New South Wales. I don’t understand why everyone just called
everything New this or New that. I stopped trying to figure that out decades
ago. But New South Wales was on the continent of
New Holland. And the British weren’t big fans of that
– just like how they renamed New Amsterdam into New York when they took it over, they
tried to come up with a different name again. The entire coast line had been charted by
Captain Cook in 1770, and in 1804, Matthew Flinders first suggested naming it Australia,
in honor of the fabled Terra Australis. In the quote from just a few minutes ago,
he asserted that nothing would ever be found of greater mass in a more southern latitude,
so this surely must be the most southern continent. Australia is just the female version of the
latin word for South, so you know, they stuck with the British tradition of coming up with
creative names for places. It took 20 years before the British government
officially adopted the name, and it took another 30 years before the rest of the world stopped
calling it New Holland. Alright already, this is a video about Antarctica,
when are you going to start talking about Antarctica? Right now. Inside where it’s warm. On January 28th, 1820, the Russian Captains
von Bellingshausen and Lazarev first sighted the coast of the continent and circumnavigated
it twice. They beat the British Captain Bransfield by
just three days. But does it really matter who found it first? *Yes, lol, Not Britain* I think what really
matters is the first person to set foot on it almost exactly a year later. – American John Davis America, F*ck Yeah! You’ll notice I didn’t call him a captain
there, because he wasn’t in the Navy, he was just a guy hunting seals who landed on
Western Antarctica. I’ll get to why the name for that place
is funny in a moment. But first, let’s talk about the name in
general. Ugh more about names? Yeah, this will be quick though. Nobody really knows who named it Antarctica. Antarctica just means the opposite of the
Arctic. In the 1500’s, France named its colony in
Brazil “France Antarctique” and I suppose I could make fun of them for that because
haha they were so wrong right? But at least the French in the 16th century
didn’t know better *roll credits*. Not like the British, who named Australia
Australia in 1824, because it is the most southern continent that ever was or ever will
be. Except… that was four years after the British
were the second to find Antarctica. So by the time they named Australia, they
knew there was a continent more south. But I guess since Australia was officially
taken, by 1890 people just sort of started calling it Antarctica. By the way if you learn nothing else from
this video, it’s Antarctica. Ant-arc-tica. There are two C’s in there. You are no longer allowed to ever forget that
first C. It was one of the very few place names I required to be spelled correctly in
my class. So now we know there’s a continent weirdly
positioned directly on the south pole. So the next big race was to find the south
pole. The famous Ross Expedition in 1841 went looking,
but all they found was the 100ft tall Ross Ice Shelf, and two volcanoes. Yes, there are volcanoes on Antarctica. Mount Erebus and Mount Terror – quite possibly
the coolest named volcano ever. Several expeditions tried and failed to get
to there over the decades but the first person to actually reach it was Roald Amundsen from
Norway on December 11, 1911. It was a race between Norway and the British,
which the Norwegians won by almost a month. The British coming in second in Antarctica
seems to be a theme. The British did find plant fossils on the
continent though, which confirmed that it was once connected to the other continents
– which provided further evidence of the plate tectonics and continental drift theories
which were speculated and being developed at the time. But what if I told you that there are actually
five south poles. There’s the obvious one. The geographic south pole, which lies at ninety
degrees south latitude and… actually no longitude. You could pick any number, it’s the same
place. For simplicity’s sake it’s either just
left off entirely or written as 0 degrees longitude. It’s the place where all the lines of longitude
come together – the place that everyone was racing to. It’s also referred to as “true south.” This is the true south pole, it isn’t much
to look at. So just 180 meters (590 feet) away is the
ceremonial south pole. This is pretty much just a tourist spot where
people can take pictures “of the south pole” without disturbing any scientific sites. The flags surrounding the pole are all of
the Antarctic Treaty countries, which I’ll talk about later. But if you’re standing on the south pole,
either the real one or the fake one, your compass won’t be spinning. It will still be pointing towards north. Which magnetically, no, is not all around
you. It’s 2860km (1777 miles) away. Wait, what? Yeah you heard that correctly. First of all, the magnetic south pole is not
located at the true south pole. Most people understand that part since it
works the same way for the north pole. And like I said, it’s 2860km away from the
geographic south pole. So why on Earth would your compass be telling
you north is where the magnetic south pole is? Well, since almost all of my audience lives
in America and Europe – except for the 2.3% of you who live in Australia – if you took
one of your compasses and went to the southern hemisphere, it would point to the south pole. They actually have to make southern hemisphere
compasses because of this problem. Which is just the opposite end of the magnet
painted, but still, super confusing. The earth doesn’t care or know the difference
between north and south, they are just the magnetic poles. So depending on which hemisphere you’re
in “north” will just point to the nearest one. So okay, enough with the tricky word play,
what happens if you’re actually standing on the magnetic south pole with a compass? Does it spin? No, depending on which hemisphere your magnet
was manufactured for, it will either be pointing straight up or straight down – the point
is will be lining up with the Earth’s magnetic field, which shoots out of the north and south
poles. The magnetic poles themselves are incredibly
wide, so before you even get to the center, your compass will start tilting up. The magnetic pole moves around and wobbles
around 10-15 km a year, so has to be constantly remeasured and plotted. But there’s another magnetic pole, which
can’t be found with a compass. The Geomagnetic south pole. This is the approximation of the center point
of the magnetic poles. Since the magnetic poles move around so much
year to year and are affected by the molten outer core and other layers of the Earth,
the people who are much smarter at this than I am came up with an antipodal model of where
they approximated a bar magnet through the center of the Earth, at the heart of the inner
core. This is where the magnetic poles wobble around
and if they could ever get their poop in a group, where they would theoretically sit
forever. It barely moves, you can’t measure it, and
for reasons I can’t explain, the north and south poles are reversed. I’m sure they have a good reason for that…
and I’m sure someone in the comments will tell it to me. The last south pole is called the “south
pole of inaccessibility” and is the centermost point of Antarctica; meaning it’s the furthest
inland from any coastline. It has no geographical significance and is
the type of thing only people like Gary Johnson would brag about climbing to. It’s not important, it’s stupid, so let’s
go back to the geographic south pole. If you’re standing on the geographic south
pole, which direction is north? Is it this way? Or is it this way? It’s actually both, you doofus. In fact, if you’re standing on the south
pole, every direction is north. But what about if you’re standing over here? Which direction is north? Nope. That’s actually west.. mostly. Nope. That’s east… mostly. That’s north. Confusing right? Moving towards the south pole is south. Away is north. Clockwise is east, and counter clockwise is
west. In almost every map you see of Antarctica,
it’s going to be oriented this way, with the line pointing up being the Prime Meridian,
or 0 degrees longitude. Not 0 degrees east or west. That doesn’t make sense. It’s just 0 degrees. And the line pointing down being 180 degrees. So this section is “Western Antarctica”
where John Davis landed. It’s named that because it’s in the western
hemisphere. But if you’re standing on the south pole,
Western Antarctica is to your north. Just like… Eastern Antarctica. Okay that’s enough, this is both confusing
and infuriating. Anyway, the Antarctic Treaty divides the continent
up into 8 territories, with 7 countries making territorial claims. Officially, the United Kingdom, New Zealand,
France, Norway, Australia, Chile, and Argentina all have territory under the treaty. They left this space conspicuously unclaimed. Why? Because both Russia and the United States
have official “we get to claim land in Antarctica whenever we want” cards according to the
treaty, and the other countries are hoping that if either of them ever does decide to
make a claim, they’ll take the currently “unclaimed” zone and not try to take theirs. Even though those territorial claims are recognized
under the treaty, the entirety of the continent is politically neutral. Nobody is allowed to test nuclear weapons
or station any military forces there. Nobody is allowed to mine or otherwise extract
resources on the continent either. It is specifically a scientific preserve. In fact, they basically copy pasted the Antarctic
Treaty in order to create the Outer Space Treaty, which says the exact same things about
heavenly bodies like the moon or Mars. Currently, 29 countries have research stations
there, with a total population of around 4000. It’s currently summertime there so the population
is at its annual high. You may have heard that 3 years ago, the super
shallow dating app Tinder successfully paired up 2 NSF researchers on the continent. They were 45 minutes away from each other
via helicopter. So really, you no longer have an excuse. So the next time you’re stranded in Antarctica
and you’re following your compass north, maybe you should double check where your compass
was made, also make sure that you never forget how to spell Antarctica, because now, you
know better. Hey guys if you enjoyed that video, or you
learned something, make sure to give that like button a click. If you’d like to see more from me I put out
new videos every weekend, so go ahead and circumnavigate that subscribe button. Also make sure to follow me on facebook and
twitter and join us on the reddit. But in the meantime if you’d like to watch
one of my older videos, how about this one?

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. 7:43 so should australians call Australia “up above” while everyone in the northern hemisphere call it “Down under”

  2. Actually, the female version of "australis" is "australis" (see "terra australis", where "terra" is the feminine noun, and "australis" is the congruent adjective). "Australia" is just made up to match the other continents. Also, the "e" in "sive" is not silent.

  3. You really need to do your research better. The difference between the two compasses is not which end is painted red or white but which end is WEIGHTED.

  4. A few corrections:
    1:30 The map actually says "Terra Australis Nondum Cognita" ( not "Terra Australis").
    1:54 It was also referred to as "Terra Australis Incognita" (amongst other names).
    2:03 I think you mean western (not eastern).
    2:06 This time, it should have been east (not west).
    2:45 James Cook didn't map the entire coast of Australia. Just some of the east coast. (The honour for finishing the mapping of the Australian coast should go to Matthew Finders and Nicolas Baudin).
    Now you know better.

  5. Note that "Mount Terror" isn't so named because it's particularly frightening, it was just discovered by HMS Terror, a British bomb ship that kicked the shit out of the American rebel scum in 1812.

  6. You should have addressed what timezone the people who live at the South Geographic Pole set their clocks to. I had to contact someone who lived there to find out. I won't give the answer here because it's a really great question to ponder. Nobody I know has guessed correctly, so the answer is not obvious.

  7. The reason why so many places have “new” in their names is because they asked Nintendo to come up with names.

  8. Isn’t Antarctica where the world ends? I thought it was what prevented ships from falling off the edge. You didn’t even mention that!

  9. It always feels weird when people online start talking about Australia and things that only Australians seem to widely know. Matthew Flinders' corpse was found a little while back and everyone here was all '!!' England was like '?'.
    Also why do so many Americans pronounce 'Antarctica' weirdly?

  10. The reason. For millena north has been named "north" but only recently (300 years ish ) has NOrth been applied to magnetics. North in magnetics is where the energy flows OUT, south is where it RETURNS. They actually RETURN through the north pole, and START at the south pole, but because we aren't going to change billions of maps to fit how magnets work, it remains "north (arctic) and south ( antarctic) though magnetically speaking , its opposite. there ya go.

  11. the magnetic north pole is to the geographik south becous if you take a magnet, it north pole (the red site) will be atrected towords megnetic south pols like if you take a second magnet.

  12. The geographic north pole is in the northern henisohere, the northern magnetic pole is in the northern hemisphere, but the magnetic north pole is in the southern hemisphere. The north pole of a compasses magnet points to the magnetic south pole of the Earth which is the same as the northern magnetic pole.

  13. That information about the differences in compases in different hemispheres is wrong by the way. The north and south sides of the needle are always the same, but they need to be balanced differently due to the curve of the Earth. Thats why Earth is actually divided in to 5 different "compass zones" and not just 2.

  14. Fun fact. There have been 11 childbirths on Antarctica 0 of the babies died thus Antarctica has the lowest child mortality rate

  15. back then antarctica was "antiarcticia" but that evolved, so why cant we evolve antarctica to antartica?

  16. I think the thing I found most interesting was learning that the mountains are named Erebus and Terror, the same names as the ships from the famous ill fated Franklin Expedition to find the northwest passage. I had to look that up because that simply cant be a coincidence, and it was named after the ships as they were previously used on the Ross expedition to Antarctica, and that's just the kinda weird link between the the arctic and antarctic I can appreciate

  17. Now I really feel bad about my lack of success on tinder and dating websites. People have better luck in Anarctica (I'll never be able to spell this correctly).

  18. The names "Erebus" (in greek representing the darkness at the gates of hell) and "Terror" where the names of the 2 ships on the lost Franklin Expedition in the Arctic. I'm not sure if they are linked, but it's interesting either way.

  19. Erebus and Terror! OMG!
    I know where the names come from, and it's an ARCTIC (kind of) expedition! So cool!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jTgmCf82s3U&t=13s

  20. I mean, if what you say is true, that southern hemisphere compasses have to be painted backwards… then what the hell kind of compass do they use at the equator?

  21. Mt erebus and mt terror are named after the HMS erebus and terror of the Franklin expedition of 1846 to find the northwest passage… they got stuck in ice for 5 years and all the crew died

  22. thank you for your videos, Is not only that Im entertained, is that I also learn, which is the best type of entertaintment, thank you sincerely mr sandman (sometimes I like to fall asleep listening to your voice, is just very soothing and man forgive me is not in a sexual way, is just that you sound like that big brother I never had

  23. You could've made this script better by saying: Which way is north? Is it this way or is it this way? Yes.

  24. 8:50 because in a magnet, the field moves from the North Pole to the South Pole. On Earth, the magnetic field moves from the South Pole to the North Pole because magnet naming conventions were created separately from geographic ones, I guess.

  25. You, sir, share the same physical attribute as Warren Zevon's werewolf, whom he saw having a piña colada at Trader Vic's…
    "His hair was perfect".

  26. In Chinese it’s called 指南針 or pointing south needle. So technically the Southern Hemispherians have it right

  27. What the heck? Southern hemisphere compasses?
    WRONG.
    The magmetic field of the Earth actually travels South polr to North pole because the southern part of the Earth is the Northern pole of the Earths magnetic field, vice versa for the North.
    A comoass is just a magnet that linrs up with the magnetic field and if you paint the North end it eill point north because it is attracted to the soithern magnetic end of the Earth (which is in the North) this will apply irrelrvant of where you are on Earth.
    At the southern magnetic pole (The northern end of the earhs magnetic field) the compass will point upward.
    The colour is irrelevant. As an Australian all the coloured ends of my comoasses (in my physics class which i teach) point northwards.

  28. "Erebus" and "Terror" were also the names of the two ships in the Franklin Expedition which were lost in the Arctic in 1846.

  29. I don't recall anything about having to change out the compass to fly in the southern hemisphere from flight school.

  30. Make a podcast!! You’re so interesting and clarify the confusing world around us. My girlfriend and I joke about naming our baby after you. Bought the ring today so who knows 😉

  31. Don't you mean only the Western side had been concerned so they thought to the East it was connected to a greater land mas

  32. The North pole is the South pole, but because the ppl who drew the maps drew them the way they did & people don't wanna have to get used to calling north south & redo the maps, we call south north & north south.

  33. I really love watching your videos. I maintain most of what I hear that catches my attention. Everything you say seams to catch my attention. You have a very pleasing and non-threatening voice and your since of humor and sarcasm are very similar to mine. By the way I did see a flash of Shrek at 8:31 on the counter and have not been able to link it to anything in the video, or soundtrack that refers to Shrek. I originally started watching your videos because I am a cartographer and love maps and the history of how the American States got their shapes. I have begun to watch many of your history videos as well and have relearned many things and have maintained that knowledge because of the reasons mentioned before.

  34. Have you seen a flat earth map Serge? If you go to that one point, all the way south and walk around that point, you'll travel near light speed if you have a tracker and this tracker coords report to a flat earth map, going the earth in a few seconds. Boots are understated.

  35. I'm sure China will claim its piece as it did in the north as a near Antarctic country.
    And why do the French and Dutch get their own piece?

  36. Did a little research. The compass being weird on the south is just because the needles are weighted. You can get global needled compasses. They're a bit more pricy. Nice compasses though.

  37. Sorry, Mate. I just can't add the "C" in there. It's too much strain on my tongue. I'll start worrying when Antarctica gets a nuclear arsenal.

  38. They might be Giants has a song about your divergent but interesting comments on names of countries and new found continents.

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