Natural Resources Canada
Government of Canada

Geological Survey of Canada

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.