WASHINGTON – The north is not quite where it used to be.
The magnetic north pole has moved so fast that scientists released an update on Monday, where it really was, almost a year earlier than expected.
The magnetic pole is what the compasses recognize as north – this is different from the north pole, where all the longitude lines meet. Currently, the magnetic north pole is 4 degrees south of the geographic north pole. As it is always on the move, scientists update their model every five years, being the last update in 2015.
The New York Times reports that in the mid-19th century, the magnetic north pole was the southern parent of Canada. The magnetic north pole of the Earth is wandering about 55 kilometers a year. At the end of 2017, he crossed the international line. He's leaving the Canadian Arctic on his way to Siberia.
At the end of 2017, the magnetic north pole crossed the international date line.
David Goldman / AP /
The moving magnetic pole is a problem for compasses. Aircraft and boats also depend on magnetic north usually as backup navigation.
Phil Livermore, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds in England, told the New York Times: "It's clear that something strange is happening."
Some scientists are even wondering if the Earth is in search of major changes: combined with a weakened magnetic field, could mean an eventual magnetic reversal.
"This marks some of the magnetic reversal boxes," said Courtney Sprain, geophysicist at the University of Liverpool in England. However, she added that "we definitely can not say that for sure."
With files from the New York Times.