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The position of the Magnetic North Pole
A pole position was [next] determined by Canadian government scientists shortly after World War II. Paul Serson and Jack Clark, of the Dominion Observatory, measured a dip of 89° 56' at Allen Lake on Prince of Wales Island. This, in conjunction with other observations made in the vicinity, showed that the pole had moved some 250 km northwest since the time of Amundsen's observations. Subsequent observations by Canadian government scientists in 1962, 1973, 1984, and most recently in 1994, showed that the general northwesterly motion of the pole is continuing, and that during this century it has moved on average 10 km per year .
Why is the Pole Moving?
If, as Gilbert believed, the Earth acts as a large magnet, the pole would not move, at least not as rapidly as it does. We now know that the cause of the Earth's magnetic field is much more complex. We believe that it is produced by electrical currents that originate in the hot, liquid, outer core of the Earth. As a simple analogy, consider an electromagnet, in which we can produce a strong magnetic field by passing an electric current through a coil of wire. In nature, processes are seldom simple. The flow of electric currents in the core is continually changing, so the magnetic field produced by those currents also changes. This means that at the surface of the Earth, both the strength and direction of the magnetic field will vary over the years. This gradual change is called the secular variation of the magnetic field. The position of the North Magnetic Pole is strongly influenced by the secular variation in its vicinity. For example, if the dip is 90° at a given point this year, that point will be the North Magnetic Pole, by definition. However, because of secular variation, the dip at that point will change to 89°58' in about two years, so it will no longer be the pole. However, at some nearby point, the dip will have increased to 90°, and that point will have become the pole. In this manner, the pole slowly moves across the Arctic. The more rapid daily motion of the pole around its average position has an entirely different cause. If we measure the Earth's magnetic field continually, such as is done at a magnetic observatory, we will see that it changes during the course of a day, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly. The ultimate cause of these fluctuations is the Sun. The Sun constantly emits charged particles that, on encountering the Earth's magnetic field, cause electric currents to be produced in the upper atmosphere. These electric currents disturb the magnetic field, resulting in a temporary shift in the pole's position. The distance and speed of these displacements will, of course, depend on the nature of the disturbances in the magnetic field, but they are occurring constantly. When scientists try to determine the average position of the pole, they must average out all of these transient wanderings."
The Earth's magnetic field "flips" (or reverses polarity) every few thousand years.
Originally posted by AllSeeingI
From 1831-1904 (73 years) it moved approx 90 miles at a rate of 1.24 Mile Per Year
From 1904-1948 (44 years) it moved approx 205 miles at a rate of 4.66 MPY
From 1948-1962 (14 years) it moved approx 90 miles at a rate of 6.42 MPY
From 1962-1973 (11 years) it moved approx 80 miles at a rate of 7.27 MPY
From 1973-1984 (11 years) it moved approx 75 miles at a rate of 6.82 MPY
From 1984-1994 (10 years) it moved approx 80 miles at a rate of 8.00 MPY
From 1994-2001 (7 years) it moved approx 220 miles at a rate of 31.43 MPY
From 2001-2004 (3 years) it moved approx 75 miles at a rate of 25.00 MPY
From 2004-2005 (1 year) it moved approx 30 miles at a rate of 30.00 MPY
From 2005-2010 (5 years) it moved approx 210 miles at a rate of 42.00 MPY
Clearly we see a trend of increasing rate. We are currently experiencing the fastest magnetic pole movement in at least the last 420 years.
I compiled this data by using the images shown and adding them to my already existing plot shown earlier in this thread, and the data from that was used from wiki and plotting them on Google earth. Creating a path and measuring each segment. I give the error of the each individual segment at about +/- 5 miles... the resulting effect on the Miles Per Year would be negligable and would still show an ever increasing rate of movement.
edit on (1/13/11) by AllSeeingI because: clarification
Originally posted by TedStevensLives
Oh, for the love of... OK, no-one is arguing that the poles aren't wandering.
What do the last 420 years have to do with anything, besides making me need to roll one? I have stuff to do today, dang it! Once again, the last geomagnetic reversal was 780000 years ago, are you really not realizing how insignificant a timeframe these measly 420 years are??? We might as well go after how much the poles wandered this week, or before noon today. It just does not matter.