The Magnetic North Pole Is Quickly Moving and No One Knows Why

It is headed for Siberia.

north pole
According to researchers, the magnetic North Pole is moving. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)
Getty Images

After a delay due to the US government shutdown, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a new World Magnetic Model that shows the North Pole has moved again- and at a remarkably fast pace.

Since the last update to the model in 2015, magnetic north has been moving at about a rate of 31 miles each year, Vox reports.

“The pole moved maybe about 1,000 kilometers [621 miles] between 1900 and 1990, and it’s also moved about 1,000 kilometers between the late 1990s and today, so it’s really sped up,” William Brown, a geomagnetic modeler, told The Verge.

Although the update wasn’t due until the end of the year, researchers released it early because the pole was moving so quickly they wanted navigation systems that use magnetic compasses to have as accurate readings as possible.

Scientists suspect something happening deep underground in the Earth’s outer core, which is filled with liquid iron that creates the powerful magnetic field surrounding the globe, is to blame for the rapid movement.

“The fast motion of the north magnetic pole could be linked to a high-speed jet of liquid iron beneath Canada,” Nature explained.

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