Magnetic Pole is drifting

Headline : Magnetic Pole is drifting

Details :

The News

  • The North Magnetic Pole of the earth is found to be moving from Northern Canada towards Siberia, at an unusually faster rate.


• The north magnetic field is moving at an unusually faster rate of about 60 Km/year from northern Canada towards Siberia in Russia.
• This has forced the scientists from World Magnetic Model to update the worlds official magnetic field map.
• The updation will immensely help navigation system in the Arctic.

Earth’s Magnetic Field

• One of the ways to probe into to the interior structure of any planet is to study the magnetic field outside the planet using an ordinary compass.
• The magnetic field of the earth is caused by the motion of the molten liquid portions of the Earth’s interior.
• As this molten material consisting of mostly iron conducts electricity, these motions give rise to electric currents, which in turn produce the Earth’s magnetic field.

Magnetic Poles v/s Geographical Poles

• The axis of the earth’s rotation is the line joining the geographical poles of the earth.
• Due to its magnetic field, earth behaves as a bar magnet with a north and south poles.
• Because the temperatures of the earth’s interior is around 770°C, the orientations of the electron orbits become randomized.
• As a result the magnetic poles of the earth do not exactly coincide with the earth’s geographical poles.

Movement of the Magnetic Poles

• The high temperatures and random movement of the liquid in the in the earth’s liquid core makes the magnetic poles of the earth move erratically.
• According to data from compass of ship logs the north magnetic pole was around northern Canada around 400 years ago.
• It has been moving back and forth around northern Canada until the 1900s, before it started moving eastwards at the rate of 14-15 km per year till the 1990s.
• Now it is seen that the north magnetic pole is moving at the rate of about 55 km per year in the last few years.

World Magnetic Model

• The World Magnetic Model (WMM) tracks the movement of earth’s magnet poles and is widely used in navigation, attitude and heading referencing systems, in addition to civilian navigation, smart phones etc.
• The World Magnetic Model is a standard model used by the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.K. Ministry of Defence, NATO and International Hydrographic Organization.
• The World Magnetic Model is updated every 5 years owing to movement of the magnetic poles
Section : Science & Tech