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Magnetic North Pole On The Move

The magnetic north pole and geographic north pole are two very different things.

Posted: Feb. 18, 2019 12:55 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Navigation is part of our everyday lives.

Whether you use a GPS to get to work, or you're simply going across town, we depend on our information to be right.

But sometimes things change, and that's exactly what the North Pole is doing.

The North Pole is where all lines of longitude intersect.

The magnetic North Pole isn't always in that same spot.

That's because metals under the earths surface shift.

As far back as the 1600's, the magnetic North Pole was around the islands just to the north of Canada.

Over the years it has drifted farther north and back south, and it's even started moving to the east.

But recently, it's moved more, and it's moved faster.

Every five years, the spot of "True Magnetic North" is updated.

The last time was in 2015, so the next update was scheduled for 2020.

However, it has moved so much in the past few years that it had to be updated this year, one year earlier than scheduled.

So what does that mean for us?

To anyone driving a car, you won't see or feel the effects.

But without continuous updates we could slowly start seeing more errors in navigation and maps.

And while it could take a few more years to see any big changes, scientists are keeping a close eye on it.

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