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It's Official: Earth's Magnetic North Pole Has Officially Moved

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  • reynolds
    Senior Member
    • Oct 2018
    • 1981

    It's Official: Earth's Magnetic North Pole Has Officially Moved

    Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Has Officially Moved

    November 13th, 2019

    On a more individual level, smartphones use the magnetic north for GPS location and compass apps.



    Earth’s magnetic North Pole has drifted so fast that authorities have had to officially redefine the location of the magnetic North Pole. The extreme wandering of the North Pole caused increasing concerns over navigation, especially in high latitudes. Earth’s magnetic field is known to have wandered and flipped in the geologic past. Earth’s magnetic field is a result of spinning molten iron and nickel 1,800 miles below the surface. As the constant flow of molten metals in the outer core changes over time, it alters the external magnetic field. What we’ve seen in the past hundred years is that the location of the magnetic North Pole has moved northward. That migration of the magnetic North Pole was switched into overdrive in the past few years, causing the pole to rapidly move. The increased speed with which the magnetic North Pole has moved prompted authorities to officially update its location. The official location of the magnetic poles is specified by the World Magnetic Model, which acts as the basis for navigation, communication, GPS, etc. around the globe.


    The World Magnetic Model updated their official location of the magnetic north. The model is typically updated every five years and was last updated in 2015. However, the recent rapid movement of the magnetic north prompted scientists to update the model early. In the recent past, the magnetic North Pole has moved 34 miles a year toward Russia. Just a half-century ago, the magnetic North Pole was wandering about 7 miles each year. Earth’s magnetic North Pole is quickly moving from the Canadian Arctic toward Russia. The model update ensures the accuracy of work in governmental agencies around the world. Specifically, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Forest Service use the magnetic poles in their daily operations from mapping to air traffic control.

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