THE North Pole is moving – quickly – and scientists have no idea why it is happening.
Deep beneath the Earth’s surface, liquid iron is sloshing around at its core, causing the North Pole to move away from Canada and towards Siberia. This has caused global geomagnetism experts to undergo an urgent update of the World Magnetic Model where it will alter where exactly North Pole is. The next update was not scheduled to happen until 2020, but due to the North Pole’s sudden shift, researchers have to bring it forward.
Precision of where the North Pole is needed for GPS across the globe, and currently is is close to exceeding “the acceptable (safe) limit for navigational errors,” the journal Nature reports.
Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information, said: “The error is increasing all the time.
“The fact that the pole is going fast makes this region more prone to large errors.”
The researchers say that the pole is moving by 34 miles (55km) a year, and it has been becoming more unpredictable for the past 100 years.
While there is no solid explanation as to why it is happening, scientists believe it could be due to a massive section of liquid iron shifting in the planet’s interior.
Nature reports: “The fast motion of the north magnetic pole could be linked to a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada.”
Phil Livermore of the University of Leeds told an American Geophysical Union meeting: “The location of the north magnetic pole appears to be governed by two large-scale patches of magnetic field, one beneath Canada and one beneath Siberia.