Earth's Magnetic North Pole Has Officially Moved

Earth's magnetic North Pole has moved so quickly that authorities have had to formally redefine the position of the magnetic North Pole. The extreme wandering of the North Pole triggered increasing concerns over navigation, especially in high latitudes.

Earth's magnetic field is known to have moved and reversed in the geologic past. Earth's magnetic field is a consequence of rotating molten iron and nickel 1,800 miles below the surface. As the continuous flow of molten metals in the outer core varies over time, it changes the external magnetic field.

What we have observed in the past hundred years is that the position of the magnetic North Pole has drifted northward. That relocation of the magnetic North Pole was transferred into overdrive in the past few years, triggering the pole to quickly move. The increased speed with which the magnetic North Pole has drifted driven authorities to formally update its position. The official site of the magnetic poles is defined by the World Magnetic Model, which acts as the foundation for navigation, communication, GPS, etc. everywhere on the globe.

The New Location of Earth's Magnetic North Pole

The World Magnetic Model updated their formal position of the magnetic north. The model is usually updated every five years and was last restructured in 2015. Though, the latest fast movement of the magnetic north derived researchers to update the model early. In the recent past, the magnetic North Pole has shifted 34 miles a year in the direction of Russia. Just a half-century ago, the magnetic North Pole was moving about 7 miles each year.

Movement of Earth's magnetic pole over time

Earth's magnetic North Pole is rapidly drifting from the Canadian Arctic toward Russia. The model update guarantees the precision of work in governmental agencies around the world. Specially, 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. On a more personal level, smartphones use the magnetic north for GPS location and compass apps.

Is Earth's Magnetic Field About To Flip?

While the quick drift of Earth's magnetic North Pole may produce concern over the possible flip of magnetic poles, there is no proof that such a flip is forthcoming. Geologists can interpret magnetic minerals in rocks around the world to disclose the history of magnetic reversals on Earth.

Earth's magnetic poles have flipped many times in thee past, with the most recent reversal happening 780,000 years ago and 183 times in the past 83 million years. When Earth's magnetic poles do flip, it won't be a disastrous "end of the world" situation. From studying fossil records, there is no proof that a magnetic field reversal produced increased extinctions, volcanic activity, etc.

Though, one big problem will lie in the wide use our technology depends on the magnetic poles. A reversal would topple navigation and communication systems around the globe. Luckily, a pole reversal in the past usually takes thousands of years to flip. This will give us sufficient time to develop mitigating plans. In reality, when Earth's magnetic field does flip, who knows what planet our descendants will be living on?