Earth's Magnetic North Pole Is Rapidly Moving Toward Siberia

Earth's Magnetic North Pole Was Moving So Fast Geophysicists Had to Update the Map

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Earlier, scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey updated the coordinates of the magnetic north pole, saying it was gradually leaving the Canadian Arctic behind and moving toward Russia's Siberia at a rate of over 55 km per year, up from less than 15 km in the year 2000.

Given that most compasses in use for navigation are now digital or are part of digital systems, software updates can easily remedy the situation. It is also used by smartphone providers for Global Positioning System, maps and compass apps.

The north magnetic pole - which guides numerous world's navigation systems - was first discovered in 1831 and has been slowly shifting from Canada to Russian Federation ever since. The last version was released at the end of 2014 and was expected to last until 2020. It crossed the global date and departs from the Canadian Arctic on the road to Siberia.

Though scientists only update the model every five years, they regularly check its accuracy.


Our planet's magnetic pole has been drifting so fast in the last one decade that scientists doubt if the past reading and estimates have been accurate enough for precise navigation.

Airport runway names are based on their direction toward magnetic north, and their names change when the sticks moved. The update doesn't have much effect for civilian users of magnetic navigation but is critical to military users.

This map shows the location of the north magnetic pole (white star) and the magnetic declination (contour interval 2 degrees) at the beginning of 2019.

For this reason, the recently announced update to the World Magnetic Model, the mathematical foundation for navigation which allows magnetic north to be precisely fixed, is crucial, and could not have come a moment too soon. The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.


This, however, is just a theory, but all we have to say is please don't take our Google Maps away from us. The last time it so happened, with the magnetic north pole getting somewhere near where the magnetic south pole now is, was about 780,000 years ago. Comparing it's predictions to real time measurements on the shifting magnetic field.

Livermore was skeptical. "There's no evidence" that the localized changes in the Arctic are a sign of something bigger, he said.

The planet's magnetic field is generated almost 2,000 miles beneath our feet, in the swirling, spinning ball of molten metal that forms Earth's core. In the past century, the direction in which our compasses steadfastly points has moved northward, driven by the Earth's churning liquid outer core. Other animals like cows can sense the Earth's magnetic field, and they position themselves towards a magnetic pole while grazing.


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