The geographic north pole remains still, but the magnetic north pole is on the move, heading towards Siberia at a speed that is quite impressive.
While the movement is not surprising, the speed at which it occurs is quite fascinating. Previous research has shown that the magnetic north pole is constantly on the move due to how molten iron flows in the core of the planet.
The magnetic north pole was discovered in 1831, and until now, it has traveled approximately 1,400 miles (or 2,250 kilometers). Researchers were able to track it without problems as it moved at a reasonable pace. However, in recent years the speed has reached an average of 55 kilometers per year (or 34 miles).
Recent data infers that the speed may have been decreased to 40 kilometers per year (25 miles) since it has started to approach Russia. The pace began to increase since the 1990s, but such values haven’t been reached in the last four centuries.
Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Is Moving Towards Siberia
The mechanics behind this phenomenon cannot be entirely explained at this point. Still, researchers can map the evolution of the magnetic field and calculate the rate at which it changes over time. This data is valuable because it allows them to anticipate future distributions.
The make the calculations the researchers rely on the World Magnetic Model (WMM), which is a representation of the field that powers many useful devices. VMM is highly accurate, but nothing is set in stone, and readings have to be updated twice per decade to maintain the performance of the model.
If suitable satellite magnetic observations can be used, the WMM will offer an initial prediction that has a high accuracy rating. This rating will deteriorate in five years, and new magnetic data will replace the old batch.
In some cases, the magnetic poles can move so far that they will swap their positions, a phenomenon that took place in the past.