Polar Encyclopædia

GEOGRAPHIC NORTH POLE AND MAGNETIC NORTH POLE

The geographic North Pole is the end of the Earth’s rotation axis and is the North on geographic maps. This pole lies in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.

The magnetic North Pole is the point where the lines of force of the Earth’s magnetic field converge. This is the point that attracts the needle of a compass, and is not the same as the geographic pole. The magnetic North Pole was located for the first time in 1831 by John Ross in the Canadian High Arctic. Ross was exploring the North West passage by ship when his vessel became stuck in the ice for four years.

The magnetic North Pole is continually moving, but in the last few years it has moved from the Canadian North towards Siberia. It has also been moving unusually fast (40 km/year).

One sign that the position of the magnetic poles is becoming inverted is the reorientation of ferrite crystals in geological layers.

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