Latest North Magnetic Pole Stories
Imagine waking up after a night of camping to find that your compass is pointing south rather than north. It can happen. The magnetic field around Earth has flipped before — though not overnight. In fact, it has happened many times throughout the planet's history.
Using a simple magnetic compass and a little ingenuity, researchers have found that lighting strikes have a far greater impact on mountaintops than previously thought.
Geologic evidence shows the Earth's magnetic field flips about once every 450,000 years. The last reversal happened about 780,000 years ago, so looking at the average interval, we are overdue.
Scientists understand that Earth's magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to 'south.'
A new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters has confirmed previous theoretical predictions that the churning cauldron of molten metals that make up Earth's liquid outer core is slowly being stirred by a very complex but predictable series of periodic oscillations.
Every so often, Earth's magnetic field flips on its head, turning the magnetic North Pole into the South Pole and vice versa. It last happened 780,000 years ago, and is predicted to occur again in about 1,500 years ... maybe.
Earth's north magnetic pole is drifting away from North America and toward Siberia at such a clip that Alaska might lose its spectacular Northern Lights in the next 50 years, scientists said Thursday.
NASA and university scientists looking at the Earth's northern and southern auroras were surprised to find they aren't mirror images of each other, as was once thought.
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