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Magnetic Pole

The North and South Magnetic Poles

The knowledge of the geographical position of both Magnetic Poles is due to the scientific energy of the same navigator, Sir James Ross. His observations of the Northern Magnetic Pole were made during the second expedition of his uncle, Sir John Ross (1829–1833); and of the Southern during the Antarctic expedition under his own command (1839–1843). The Northern Magnetic Pole, in 70° 5′ lat., 96° 43′ W. long., is 5° of latitude farther from the ordinary pole of the earth than the Southern Magnetic Pole, 75° 35′ lat., 154° 10′ E. long.; whilst it is also situated farther west from Greenwich than the Northern Magnetic Pole. The latter belongs to the great island of Boothia Felix, which is situated very near the American continent, and is a portion of the district which Captain Parry had previously named North Somerset. It is not far distant from the western coast of Boothia Felix, near the promontory of Adelaide, which extends into King William's Sound and Victoria Strait.

The Southern Magnetic Pole has been directly reached in the same manner as the Northern Pole. On 17th February 1841, the Erebus  penetrated as far as 76° 12′ S. lat., and 164° E. long. As the inclination was here only 88° 40′, it was assumed that the Southern Magnetic Pole was about 160 nautical miles distant. Many accurate observations of declination, determining the intersection of the magnetic meridian, render it very probable that the South Magnetic Pole is situated in the interior of the great Antarctic region of South Victoria Land, west of the Prince Albert mountains, which approach the South Pole and are connected with the active volcano of Erebus, which is 12,400 feet in height.—Humboldt's Cosmos, vol. v.