Can’t Keep Still – Our Planet’s Magnetic North Pole Is Moving


You might think that Earth’s magnetic north pole is very reliable when it comes to orienting yourself, especially when you use a compass or even iPhone’s app. However, it appears that this isn’t as certain as we once believed.

It appears that the magnetic north pole has moved quite a lot recently. As a consequence of that, some federal agencies felt complain to make it clear where the real north is. While its location is never constant, this time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had to release the World Magnetic Model almost a year before it was supposed to come out.

“It’s moving much more rapidly now than it has before and consequently all of our calculations about where magnetic declination lie have to change,” USM Geography Professor Dr. Matthew Bampton said.

Reversing the poles

It appears that in the future there will be a complete shift, the north pole and the south pole should exchange places. Obviously, it is very unlikely that we will live long enough to see that, as it won’t happen anytime soon.

“So it’s constantly changing, and if we wait long enough, there’s extremely good evidence to indicate that the north and the south poles of the earth’s magnetic field will reverse. iPhone compass, hand compass if you’re a boy scout navigating in the woods, you’re probably not going to notice the difference right yet,” Bampton said.

If you live in the United States you might want to be extra careful in northern Alaska, as the changes will be more obvious there. “If you’re relying on a compass in those places, you just have to be a bit more careful,” USM Cartography Professor Dr. Matthew Edney said. The GPS should continue to work just fine.


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