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Polar North Pole Accelerates Towards Siberia

This month there’s an interesting article in “Astronomy & Geophysics News & Reviews” published by the Royal Astronomical Society.

Most people know that the Earth’s magnetic field isn’t aligned with the geographical north pole. (The physical actual north pole.). In fact the Earth’s magnetic field moves a lot in a process called “geomagnetic reversal” when geological records demonstrate that the north and south pole flip and change. When it flips it can last just a few hundred years or thousands of years and there have been 183 reversals in the last 83 million years and the last one was 41,000 years ago during the last ice age.

Currently the Earth’s north pole is moving towards Siberia at a rate of 55,000 metres per year, or 150 metres per day! To put it another way, this means that the magnetic north pole is racing towards Russia at a rate of 6 swimming pool lengths per day!

Although we know that the Earth’s magnetic field is created by the liquid outer core rotating around the solid iron core, no one knows why the poles motion is speeding up or what it means for a potential pole reversal.

What will it mean for navigation? How much will the magnetic field weaken and how quickly will it change? Is it about to flip or is it just a wobble and what will it mean for the Aurora Borealis? Watch this space.

(Picture credit, the Royal Astronomical Society)