Question: What happened to the magnetic north in the last century?


  1. Hi Robert,
    in the last century..I think nothing. Perhaps you are referring to the switch of the magnetic poles the has happened in the past? This change takes place on a time scale of the order of 500000 years ( I looked it up on wikipedia, I hope it is correct, maybe Jesse knows better) so don’t worry, our compass will work for a few centuries still 😉
    However, if you are interested in the Earth magnetic field, I refer you to this other question, where you might also find some useful information

    Why is the Earth magnetized? What is the origin of the earth’s magnetic field?

    I hope this answered your question, just comment if you want to know more!


  2. Hi robert, like the other question you asked, the magnetic poles do switch back and forth every couple of hundreds of thousands of years. This is caused by currents being generated between Earth’s inner and outer core which are always moving around. So, to answer your question, magnetic north has been drifting approximately 10 miles per year around the globe to become magnetic south sometime in the next couple of thousand years. I hope that answers your question!


  3. Hi Robert:
    In the last century the magnetic north pole has moved slowly and steadily. It is moving from the Arctic Ocean towards Siberia. This is normal as the magnetic poles are not fixed and wander around the geographic poles. It is important to know where it is so that we can adjust our navigation systems which depend on the location of the magnetic north pole.


  4. Hi Robert,

    Most of the information was already provided by the previous scientists, so I would rather add a short documentary, which could help you understand it better.

    Have a look at this:

    Hope it helps! 🙂