By Zuerrnnovahh-Starr Livingstone
July 26, 2005
I have seen other reports of the great speed that the North Magnetic Pole
is moving at, but they are not published widely. The Edmonton Journal is
a about half a million circulation and is owned by the Asper Family.
By Nathan VanderKlippe, CanWest News Service
Thursday, June 09, 2005
YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. - Sometime in the last year, a longtime friend turned
its back on Canada and was last spotted heading for Siberia.
For centuries, the magnetic North Pole was ours, a constant companion that
wandered the rolling tundra and frozen seas of our Arctic.
But no more.
A Canadian scientist who recently returned from a trip to measure the Pole's
current location says it has now left Canadian territory and crossed into
"I think the Pole has probably just moved past the 200-nautical-mile
limit," said Larry Newitt, head of the Natural Resources Canada geomagnetic
laboratory in Ottawa. "It's probably outside of Canada, technically.
But we're still the closest country to it."
In May, Newitt and his instruments landed on a patch of frozen ocean at
82.5 degrees North to make a more precise measurement of the magnetic Pole's
The [magnetic] pole, which, unlike the geographic North Pole, is in constant
movement, has been within modern Canadian borders since at least the 1600s
-- the time of Shakespeare and Sir Isaac Newton.
In 1904 it was measured just off the northern tip of Nunavut's King William
Island by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, and since then has moved in
a north to northwesterly direction at a stately 10 kilometres per year.
But in 2001, scientists discovered that it was picking up the pace, suddenly
charging ahead -- and toward the edge of Canadian territory -- at more than
40 kilometres per year.
This year, bad weather prevented Newitt from reaching the actual location
of the pole, and he hasn't completed the analysis of his observations. But
he got close enough to make two measurements, and says it appears the pole
is farther away than expected, and moving even faster than before.
"We landed at two places at around 83 North, and it certainly appears
the pole is probably closer to 84 North," he said. "That means
that the pole is still continuing to accelerate."
If the pole continues its current course, it will shoot across the top of
Earth and end up in Siberia by mid-century.
But the pole's movements are difficult to forecast, since its location depends
on a terrestrial magnetic field that is produced by extremely complex forces
deep inside Earth. Those forces, at their simplest, drive a churning mass
of molten iron that rises and falls on convective currents more than 3,000
kilometres below the planet's surface. The movement of that iron conducts
and produces the magnetic field, whose poles are located fairly close, although
still often thousands of kilometres away from, the geographic poles.
Curiously, the speed with which the pole moves could be related to dramatic
events like the massive earthquake that caused last December's devastating
tsunami. That quake was big enough to alter the shape of Earth and jar the
planet into a slightly different axis of rotation. It also had enough power
to jolt the molten iron that powers the magnetic field, and could be partly
responsible for magnetic "jerks" that are propelling the magnetic
North Pole, Newitt
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