Difference between North Pole and South Pole

July 6, 2015 by Editorial Team

The earth’s poles are the two opposite points on which the earth’s axis intersects with the surface. The two poles have different geographical characteristics, different climatic conditions and are habitats of different living things. This article takes a closer look at these differences.


Polar bears at the North Pole
Polar bears at the North Pole

The North Pole is the Earth’s northernmost point. It is the point where the axis on which the earth rotates meets the surface at the Northern Hemisphere.

The South Pole features (ice, ocean, and clouds)
The South Pole features (ice, ocean, and clouds)

The South Pole is the point on the Southern Hemisphere where the axis on which the Earth rotates meets the surface. It is the southernmost point and is on the opposite end to the North Pole.

Comparison Chart

North PoleSouth Pole
Covered by a layer of ice on a seaCovered by thick ice on a mass of land
Relatively flatMountainous
The ice is a few meters thickThe ice is very thick, up to 2.5 km
Relatively higher temperaturesLowest temperatures on Earth
Has no mineral depositsFull of mineral deposits such as gold, platinum, nickel, iron, silver, and many more.
Inhabited by white bearsInhabited by penguins
Called the south pole on a bar magnetCalled the north pole on a bar magnet


The North Pole and the South Pole have different geographic features and zoological characteristics.

  • The North Pole (also referred to as the Arctic) is relatively flat because it is basically a sea covered by a layer of ice. The South Pole (Antarctic) is covered by mountains, some as high as 3 km, that are covered by ice. The layer of the ice on the North Pole Sea is relatively thin (a few meters thick) as compared to that found at the South Pole which can be up to two and a half kilometers thick. The North Pole is more sensitive to changes in climatic conditions than the South Pole – its ice sheet is gradually decreasing each year. The South Pole is home to the world’s largest body of fresh water (in the form of ice) which is about 90% of the Earth’s water.
  • The temperatures at the South Pole are a little lower than those at the North Pole. The North Pole is inhabited by white polar bears while the South Pole is home to penguins. Conditions at the North Pole have allowed a population of people to live within the Arctic, unlike the Antarctic which only has research stations and no people with permanent residence.
  • On a bar magnet, the North Pole is called the South Pole and South Pole is called the North Pole. This is because magnetism flows in through the bar magnet’s south (also called negative) and out through the north (also called the positive).