Friday, December 09, 2005

The Shifting North Pole

I always thought that the North Pole was one of those earth constants, an unchanging, geographic spot on the map. One of those concepts you could have faith in, like the sun rising in the east. Do you remember playing with a compass, and watching the needle spin around to the "infallible" true north? Well it turns out that there has been a rapid movement of the Earth's North Magnetic Pole during the last century moving nearly 1,100 kilometers out into the Arctic Ocean. Apparently, as described in this post on the Science Blog this may be part of a normal oscillation. I guess Santa Claus must have some amazing navigation equipment on that big sled to cope with this, but the telecommunications up there must be hell! We can probably kiss the Northern Lights goodbye in a few years as well since they track the position of the magnetic North which at the moment is heading for Siberia.
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