Actually, pole shift is a very well documented phenomena. While it is generally understood to take thousands of years, there is even evidence for
faster pole shift (such as change in orientation of the metals in the earth). The sun has risen in the west (and probably the north and south as well
as the east) several times since the beginnings of earth, possibly even during the course of human history (although probably not recorded human
The pole shifts you speak of are magnetic shifts, not physical ones. They are determined to have occurred by checking the polar orientation of
magnetic materials in set stone - the orientation of them was determined at the time the stone solidified, and doesn't change after that. The
"magnets" align on magnetic north while the stone is in a plastic state, and retain that orientation because they can't adjust themselves any more in
a matrix of set stone.
If you look at a topographic map, in the lower margin there is a "declination diagram", which has a date. it's used to orient the map on true north
using a magnetic compass so that the map matches the lay of the actual land. The date is because magnetic north moves
over time, at varying
rates, so we have to know what date the diagram is good for in order to make use of it. Otherwise, the orientation is "off" by some number of degrees,
depending on how out of date the diagram is.
Right now, magnetic north is galloping towards Russia at a faster clip than it has ever been observed to move since record keeping began. That is
caused by motions in the liquid metal core of the Earth, which is what produces the magnetic poles.
it's a separate issue from the motions of the true or geographic north pole, the actual spin pole of the Earth. There is an astronomical phenomena
called "precession", which causes the Earth's spin pole to "wobble" over large time spans. That is what causes the apparent star and constellation
migrations seen in the precession of the equinoxes, so that Earth's orientation to surrounding space changes over time. the cycle last about 24000
years before it wobbles back around to it's starting point.
The Earth's actual spin pole changes over time in relation to external objects, like stars, but it doesn't change in relation to parts of the Earth,
such as the surface. the spin pole is and always will be at the same point of Earth... but the sun (which is one of those outside stars) DOES seem to
change it's position (where it rises, sets, and the width of the tropics that fall directly underneath it) over time as viewed from the Earth's
surface, due to precession.
The regular yearly migration of the sun from north to south is caused by the axial inclination - the degree of tilt - of the Earth in relation to the
sun, which is a separate issue from precession, although the two are sort of tied together over long time scales.
To make matters even worse, and more complicated, there are suggestions that the inclination, or amount of tilt, of the Earth's spin pole changes over
time, too, becoming steeper or more shallow over geologic time scales (like a top slowly wobbling). The actual spin pole, in relation to the surface
of the Earth, however, never changes. A change in that would be cataclysmic, and likely cause the Earth to dissociate into a floating swarm of rock
If that isn't enough to make one's head swim, there are even more "adjustments" in Earth's relation to everything "not Earth". The angle of the
ecliptic, the argument of the perihelion, etc.
Nothing ever stays the same, but it changes so slowly as to usually be unnoticeable... except for the march of the magnetic poles. That can be sudden
ETA: One thing I just thought of - there are indications that the axial tilt
changes over time. If the change were drastic enough - if the
entire planet "flipped" and swapped ends such that what is now pointing to Polaris were pointing in the opposite direction, then the sun would "rise"
is the west and "set" in the east, but the spin poles in relation to the Earth's surface would not change. The Earth would not really reverse
direction, but the sun would appear to.
Since I just thought of it, I've not had time to work out the implications, but as a first guess, it wouldn't destroy much at all, other than our
sense of direction. Venus has a retrograde rotation - the only one of the planets in the solar system to do so - and the sun "rises" in the west and
sets in the "east" on Venus. I wonder if something like that pole roll may have happened there? it might be that Venus is simply "upside down" instead
of actually retrograde. If so, then I suppose it's a possibility. One of the results of that might be a longer day as well - Venus's "day" is longer
than it's "year", if I recall correctly - which I may not.
edit on 2014/1/1 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)