Earth is a giant magnetic globe with north and south poles, wandering in the universe. It has its own strong magnetic field. This magnetic field is generated due to the existence of charged particles in the core area of earth. The mechanism behind it, called ‘Dynamo Effect’, depicts the formation of Earth's magnetic field. This magnetic field acts as a powerful invisible outward cover of the earth.


But Earth's magnetic poles wobble around the polar area. In historic ages compass was invented for navigation during ocean voyages, and chronologically the magnetic field was also invented. But magnetic pole constantly moves over time, whether at a slow or fast pace. Nowadays that movement results the north magnetic pole to shift towards Russia (Siberian coastal area) over the next decade.

A Brief Description of the Study

The internal geologic forces entertain this shifting. Some study on this phenomenon have made it understandable to us.

The study was carried forward by the joint effort of Philip W. Livemore and Matthew Bayliff from University of Leeds in United Kingdom, and Christopher C. Finlay from Technical University of Denmark.

The researchers have analysed geomagnetic data of previous 20 years from European Space Agency's ‘Swarm Mission’. They have presumed that this shifting might cause due to the monolithic friction between two lobes of opposite magnetic force near the core.

[Note to the fact, ‘Swarm Mission’ consists a constellation of three identical satellites with sophisticated magnetometers and electric field instruments. The objectives included are to provide data about earth's geomagnetic field and temporal evolution of it, along with data of electric field in earth's atmosphere.]

Scientists said that,
“Over last two decades, the position of the north magnetic pole has been largely determined by two large scale lobes of negative magnetic flux on the core-mantle boundary beneath Canada and Siberia.”

Drifting of Earth's Magnetic North

When earth's magnetic north was first identified by an explorer named James Clark Ross in 1831, it was found to be located near Canada's Boothia Peninsula in the Nunavut territory. Since then, a drifting of almost 15 kilometers per year to northward had been recorded.

Shifting of earth's magnetic north towards Russia

Recently technological advancement helps to trace this drifting with utmost accuracy. At first its trajectory of shifting was a bit meandering, since it had took a straight marching way, gradually increasing its pace, from mid 1970s.


Ever since this drifting pace is consistently increasing till date. Earlier on 1990s, the drifting pace almost quadrupled and reached at nearly 55 to 60 kilometers per year. In the last three years, it had attained a rapid rate of drifting which brought the magnetic north within 390 kilometers of the geographic or true north (90°N).

How will this shifting cause problems?

The magnetic pole is consistently heading towards the Siberian coast. Navigation system is fully rely on the accurate positioning of earth's magnetic pole. Thenceforth this tug-of-war game of magnetic field facing as a deep concern to the navigation system worldwide, whether it is for ship at oceans or mobile phone compass in our pocket.

As it is needed to have a clear idea about the mechanism behind it for the sake of navigation system, the United States National Geophysical Data Centre is continuously giving updates by incessantly tracking this displacement.

As stated in a research paper published by the researchers,
“The ramble of Earth’s north magnetic pole, the location where the magnetic field points vertically downwards, has long been a topic of scientific fascination.”

They also mentioned that,
“The importance of these two patches in determining the structure of the field close to the north magnetic pole has been well known for several centuries.”

Philip W. Livemore, from the University of Leeds, stated that,
“Now historically, the Canadian patch has been winning the war and that is why the pole has been centered over Canada. But, in the last few decades, the patch over Canada has weakened and the Siberian patch has strengthened slightly, and that explains why the pole has suddenly accelerated away from its historical position.”

Last of all, this means it is expected that this shifting of magnetic pole will go on in a long run, and still for now, it is not ascertainable that whether it might become stable or return back to its previous location.

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