Earth’s magnetic north pole is moving too fast for experts to keep up.
Apr 23, 2019 | 0 |
(BI) – In the Hollywood blockbuster “The Core,” the planet’s core suddenly stops rotating, causing Earth’s magnetic field to collapse. Then bursts of deadly microwaves cook the Colosseum and melt the Golden Gate Bridge. While “nearly everything in the movie is wrong,” according to Justin Revenaugh, a seismologist from the University of Minnesota, it is true that Earth’s magnetic field shields the planet from deadly and destructive solar radiation. Without it, solar winds could strip Earth of its oceans and atmosphere.
But the planet’s magnetic field isn’t static. The Earth’s north magnetic pole (which is not the same as geographic north) has led scientists on something of a goose chase over the past century. Each year, it moves north by an average of about 30 miles. That movement made the World Magnetic Model – which tracks the field and informs compasses, smartphone GPS, and navigation systems on planes and ships – inaccurate. Since the next planned update of the WMM wasn’t until 2020, the US military requested an unprecedented early update to account for magnetic north’s accelerated gambol.