By Luke Miller,
Just like the human body, the Earth has the equivalent of a bloodstream under its skin. This stream of molten lava generates the Earth’s magnetic field and helps protect us against solar activity that would be detrimental to our survival.
An article published in International Journal Of Science, Nature, has revealed that the Earth’s magnetic field is behaving abnormally and rapidly moving from its home in Canada, towards Siberia.
The shift has sparked an emergency update (to take place on 30th January) on the World Magnetic Model (WMM). The WMM governs satellite navigation, geopositioning systems, and smartphone trackers. The system was not set to be updated until 2020, but the rapid shift in the magnetic pole alerted experts that the model urgently needed to be fixed.
“The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.
Nature reports “The pole wanders in unpredictable ways that have fascinated explorers and scientists since James Clark Ross first measured it in 1831 in the Canadian Arctic. In the mid-1990s it picked up speed, from around 15 kilometres per year to around 55 kilometres per year. By 2001, it had entered the Arctic Ocean — where, in 2007, a team including Chulliat landed an aeroplane on the sea ice in an attempt to locate the pole.”
Every year, the NOAA and the British Geological Survey perform checks to see how the field is behaving. After the latest checks, they realized their data was so inaccurate that it was going to exceed the acceptable limit for navigational errors.
What Is Causing The Shift?
Currently, there is no clear answer to what is going on, but theories include: “Geomagnetic pulses,” which “might be traced back to ‘hydromagnetic’ waves arising from deep in the core” The theory states that high-speed molten waves are weakening the magnetic field beneath Canada.
Phil Livermore, a geomagnetist at the University of Leeds, UK, said “The location of the north magnetic pole appears to be governed by two large-scale patches of magnetic field, one beneath Canada and one beneath Siberia,” he continued “The Siberian patch is winning the competition.”