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North Magnetic Pole Racing Toward Siberia 187

RogerRoast sends along a backgrounder from Scientific American on the best current theory as to why the north magnetic pole drifts. "The NMP, also known as the dip pole, is the point on Earth where the planet's magnetic field points straight down into the ground. Scottish explorer James Clark Ross first located the NMP in 1831 on the Boothia Peninsula in what is now northern Canada... [T]he NMP drifts from year to year as geophysical processes within Earth change. For more than 150 years after Ross's measurement its movement was gradual, generally less than 15 kilometers per year. But then, in the 1990s, it picked up speed, ... bolting north–northwest into the Arctic Ocean at more than 55 kilometers per year. If it keeps going it could pass the geographic north pole in a decade or so and carry on toward Siberia."
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North Magnetic Pole Racing Toward Siberia

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  • Eeep! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday December 27, 2010 @01:06PM (#34677180) Homepage Journal

    Will Putin's ambitions stop at nothing?

    (Besides, a fast-moving magnetic pole screws up the UK's Ordinance Survey maps, which are magnetic north aligned.)

  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday December 27, 2010 @01:09PM (#34677198)

    The probable cause of this is a sudden shift in the tilt of our molten core. This would realign our magnetic poles.

    But it may also be indicative of a bigger problem. There was a film a few years back which explored the possibility of a sudden loss of angular momentum within the Earth's core. Without the spinning core, the magnetic field would be lost and our planet would lose the protection afforded to us by the magnetosphere. Essentially, we would become windswept by the solar wind and would end up without an atmosphere, much like Mars.

    The solution, the scientists in the film agreed, was to prepare several nuclear bombs which could be transported to the edge of the core (below the mantle) and detonated, thus restarting the spinning core. It seemed like a crazy theory, but with this sudden acceleration of the NMP, I think it might be wise to keep an eye on all of our options.

  • by snsh ( 968808 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @01:10PM (#34677202)
    This is good news. Everyone knows that you regain stability by moving all your poles into the right hand plane.
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @01:19PM (#34677298) Homepage

    How about we just stick a GIANT MAGNET right smack on the real North Pole? That way, we don't need to worry about the "natural" pole shifting. Set this artificial magnet to have a different frequency than the earth's natural magnetism, so we can set our compass magnets to that same frequency and not worry about interference. (This will also keep this valuable asset from wandering into Russian territory.)

  • by ChiRaven ( 800537 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @02:43PM (#34677952) Journal
    You just don't want to admit it. It's another inevitable byproduct of anthropogenic global warming caused by greenhouses gasses. That should be obvious to anyone. Expect the IPCC papers on the subject to be exposed by a whistle-blower any day now. Insiders are predicting that the studies will show that the pole is repelled by the stronger SOURCES of the gasses, but there is a lag effect, so it is only now moving away from US, and toward Siberia. In an exchange of email messages also to be released at the same time by this anonymous whistle-blower, two of the secondary authors are reported to have said "aren't these econometric models WONDERFULLY flexible?"
  • by Quila ( 201335 ) on Monday December 27, 2010 @03:17PM (#34678330)

    If it's a good thing or neutral, it's just a natural process.

    If it's a bad thing then we did it. We need government action and trillions of dollars sent to third-world countries in order to stop it. How that's supposed to stop it, I don't know. Maybe the mass of all those dollar bills in the Southern hemisphere will cause the core to realign itself.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"