Earth’s moving magnetic North Pole gets 'official' update as it accelerates towards Russia

The magnetic lines and North Pole now pinpoint the pole's most recent location after it's accelerated shift in recent years.

At the start of the year, the news about Earth’s moving magnetic north pole made waves in popular media. This seemingly strange behaviour is fairly natural, except that the speed at which the pole has been moving rather fast. The shift has caught the attention of scientists', who have been forced to respond in a rare action: officially update the location of our planet's fast-moving magnetic North Pole in the World Magnetic Model.

Out of concern for those who navigate in the Arctic region, at high altitudes, and at sea, scientists have updated the planet's magnetic field lines to pinpoint the pole's most recent location.

An illustration of Earth's magnetic field lines.

An illustration of Earth's magnetic field lines.

"We know from old ships’ logs that in the past 400 years, the north magnetic pole has hung around northern Canada. Until the 1900s, it moved perhaps tens of kilometres, back and forth," Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, told the Guardian

"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 [ six miles] a year to 50 or 60km a year today. It’s now moving rapidly towards Siberia."

Currently, the north magnetic pole is moving away from Canada and towards Siberia at a speed of roughly 50 kilometres a year. This rapid movement of the pole was redefined by the World Magnetic Model after concerns about how it might affect global navigation — especially at high latitudes.

Researchers have speculated that the changes causing this shift are due to the movement of liquid iron in the Earth's core, climate change, or some combination of them.

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