Weekly Gem #281, Exactly halfway. Well, not exactly.

Published 1/21/23

Location: This hidden gem is located at the intersection of the 45th parallel and the Pacific Ocean, in Lincoln City, OR (see the Clue Me! Map). 

The people and seagulls are enjoying the surf at the westernmost location where the 45th parallel crosses the U.S. This is (as we’re reminded by a nearby sign) “Halfway Between the Equator and the North Pole.”

Hold on a sec. As any good pizza maker can tell you, that can’t be right.

Consider the earth as a perfectly spherical ball of pizza dough floating in space. Tilt it slightly, start it spinning, and like a ball of pizza dough, it will begin to flatten. The top and bottom will stretch, more at the poles, less stretch as you move toward the equator.

As a result of the spinning and stretching, the earth is 3949.9 miles from top to bottom, and 3963.2 miles across at the equator. This means that the 45th parallel is actually 9.97 miles south of the line that is equidistant between the north pole and the equator. On the Oregon coast, to be “halfway between the equator and the north pole,” you’ll need to go 9.97 miles north (as the gull flies) and watch the surf from the Winema Road Beach.


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


Halfway north or halfway south. Or both?


This is the 45th parallel (north), exactly halfway between the north pole and the equator.

Why It's Interesting

The combination of location, and location, is quite pleasing.

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