The Earth's magnetic field has flipped many times in the past. Image Credit: NASA / Peter Reid
Our planet's magnetic north pole is reportedly moving towards Siberia at a rate of 34 miles per year.
This surprising trend, which saw the pole cross an international date line back in 2017, has the potential to cause considerable disruption to magnetic navigation systems.
Scientists have been struggling to keep the official map of the world's magnetic field up-to-date.
"We know from old ships' logs that in the past 400 years, the north magnetic pole has hung around northern Canada," said Ciaran Beggan of the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh.
"Until the 1900s, it moved perhaps tens of kilometres, back and forth. But in the past 50 years it started to move north, and in the past 30 years it started to accelerate away."
"It went from moving at about five to 10km a year to 50 or 60km a year today."
This rapid movement of the magnetic north pole has been attributed to turbulence in the liquid outer core of the planet where a narrow stream - similar to a jet stream - is thought to have appeared.
The Earth's magnetic field has actually been getting weaker over the last few decades, leading to speculation that it could eventually flip entirely - meaning that compasses will start to point south.
It's something that has happened numerous times throughout Earth's history.
"It's not a question of if it's going to reverse, the question is when it's going to reverse," said Beggan.
Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (24)
North Pole, Magnetic