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Continental Pole of Inaccessibility (Posted on 2008-05-14) Difficulty: 3 of 5
New Scientist magazine has a feature called "The last word", in which readers' questions are answered by other readers.

Recently one reader's question asked what point on earth was farthest from the nearest sea, meaning farthest from any inlet of the world ocean. Rivers don't count, just seas, connected to the world ocean and subject to tides of the whole sea, not just seiches.

A reply was published, calling this point the "continental pole of inaccessibility (CPI)", that said the question was raised in the 1960's when builders of submarine-mounted nuclear missiles wanted to tout an ability to target any point on land from a body of water accessible to the sub fleet.

The reply stated that the point is at 46°17'N, 86°40'E, in northwest China near the Russian border, and went on to say that the nearest arm of the sea was 2848 km away at Tianjin on the Yellow Sea. It stated further, that the sub proponents neglected to mention in promotional literature that as the rockets had barely enough range to cover this distance, that "to strike the pole [of inaccessibility] a large nuclear-powered submarine would practically have to visit Tianjin docks."

What's wrong with that reply to the reader's question?

See The Solution Submitted by Charlie    
Rating: 4.5000 (4 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Google Comment 17 of 17 |

For the sake of interest I opened Google Earth and went to the location 46°17’N, 86°40’E.


That location is just to the left of a road which has a NE-SW tendency.  Slightly above that location is what at first appears to be some kind of Mayan pyramid.  Closer examination suggests that the “structure” actually recedes and is the excavation at the entrance of a railway tunnel.  Again at 46°17’44” N, 86°39’49” E is another structure of a similar appearance by elongated, being the entrance at the other end.


At 46°18’52” N, 86°34’06” E  is some kind of installation.. Around 46°16’46” N, 86°32’11” E  there appears to be much excavation.
  Posted by brianjn on 2008-05-19 00:36:21
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