According to a report from Forbes, Earth’s magnetic North Pole has drifted so fast that authorities have had to officially redefine the location of it.
This increases concerns over navigation, especially in high latitudes.
The planet’s magnetic field has moved in the geologic past, a result of spinning molten iron and nickel 1,800 miles below the surface altering the external magnetic field over time.
The magnetic North Pole has moved northward in the last century and that migration has accelerated, causing the pole to rapidly move. The official location of the magnetic poles is specified by the World Magnetic Model, which acts as the basis for navigation, communication, GPS, etc. around the globe.
On Monday, the World Magnetic Model updated their official location of the magnetic north, typically updated every five years.
The last time it was updated?
The magnetic North Pole has moved 34 miles a year toward Russia. Just a half-century ago, the magnetic North Pole was wandering about 7 miles each year, to provide context.
Who needs it?
Well, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the U.S. Forest Service use the magnetic poles in their daily operations from mapping to air traffic control.
What’s it mean for you?
Smartphones use the magnetic north for GPS location and compass apps.
So, now what?
Earth’s magnetic poles have flipped many times in its history, with the latest reversal occurring 780,000 years ago and 183 times in the past 83 million years.
When the planet’s magnetic poles do flip, it won’t be a catastrophic “end of the world” scenario, according to Forbes.
From examining fossil records, there is no evidence that a magnetic field reversal causes increased extinctions, volcanic activity, etc.
And besides, it would take a long time for a full flip to occur.
Well, time will tell.
Hang on, folks.
Life is a wild ride and planet Earth is one heck of a spaceship.