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Geomagnetism
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North Magnetic Pole
Introduction
What is a magnetic pole?
Where is the North Magnetic Pole?
Long term movement
Magnetic reversals
Daily movement
2001 survey
Early Concept of the North Magnetic Pole
Expeditions


Geological Survey of Canada
Geological Survey of Canada


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Geological Survey of Canada
Earth Sciences Sector > Geological Survey of Canada > Geomagnetism
Geomagnetism
North Magnetic Pole

The Earth's magnetic field is shaped approximately like that of a bar magnet and, like a magnet, it has two magnetic poles, one in the Canadian arctic, referred to as the North Magnetic Pole, and one off the coast of Antarctica, south of Australia, referred to as the South Magnetic Pole. At the North Magnetic Pole the Earth's magnetic field is directed vertically downward relative to the Earth's surface. Consequently, magnetic dip, or inclination is 90° . In addition, the North Magnetic Pole is the eventual destination for a traveller who follows his or her compass needle from anywhere on Earth.

The North Magnetic Pole is slowly drifting across the Canadian Arctic. The Geological Survey of Canada keeps track of this motion by periodically carrying out magnetic surveys to redetermine the Pole's location. The most recent survey, completed in May, 2001, determined an updated position for the Pole and established that it is moving approximately northwest at 40 km per year. The observed position for 2001 and estimated positions for 2002 to 2005 are given in the table.

Year Latitude ( °N) Longitude ( °W)
2001
81.3
110.8
2002
81.6
111.6
2003
82.0
112.4
2004
82.3
113.4
2005
82.7
114.4

Position of the North Magnetic Pole in 2001

Explore the pages listed in the menu to learn more about the North Magnetic Pole.


2005-12-31Important notices