The North Pole is Shifting, Here’s Why

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The magnetic North Pole has been the supporting pillar for navigation techniques employed by sailors across the world. The magnetic compass points to the magnetic North regardless of your position and orientation on the globe. This simple fact has been utilized by navigators to discover and travel the whole world until the invention of GPS. The magnetic poles are also helpful in other aspects of life on Earth. The poles help to catch the harmful ionized particles that the sun emits and brings them to the poles to put up the wonderful show of light known as the aurora.

The importance of the North pole cannot be understated. Now European scientists think that the North pole is shifting from its original position, and they can describe what is driving this drift. The drift of the North pole has been observed and catalogued for some time now, and it has prompted frequent updates to navigation systems, including those that are responsible for the maps in our day to day lives, such as the ones on our smartphones. The magnetic North, which was originally located near Canada, has been drifting away from the North American continent towards Siberia, Russia.

The position of the three poles.

The reason behind this shift, as the scientists state, is a result of the competition of two magnetic ‘blobs’ on the edge of the planet’s outer core. The flow of molten material inside the planet is complex. It is a constant process that is responsible for producing the magnetic field around Earth. Even a small change in this flow can change the magnetic field in a big way.

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This change in the flow is the reason behind the change in the strength of the above regions of negative magnetic flux. This means that the magnetic patch beneath Canada has decreased in strength, whereas the magnetic patch beneath Russia has increased in strength. This is the reason why the Magnetic North Pole has crossed the international dateline, leaving behind its historic seat to settle in Siberia.

The aurora.

This change in the location of the magnetic north pole was first observed in the 1990s. Until then, from the time of its discovery in the 1830s, it had been comfortably seated in the Nunavut region of Canada. After centuries of calm, the North pole shot off and reached within a hundred kilometres of the geographic pole. Researchers around the world are studying the matter, and satellite data from the past 20 years is being used to model the exact path of the North Pole and to predict what might happen next.

Further Reading:

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