The north magnetic pole is moving 60km a year toward Russia, which means they're stealing it. Or the Earth's core is fluxing. Actually, nobody really knows what's happening. I just hope it's not a prelude to a catastrophic magnetic shift.
Arnaud Chulliat - geophysicist at the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris - says that there's a mysterious magnetic plume that is pushing the north pole at an increasing speed. The plume comes from deep in the Earth's core, says Chulliat, which is believed to be made of iron, with molten rock spinning around like a dynamo. This is what creates Earth's magnetic field. I have to admit that these theories sound a lot more logic that my theory of a malfunction in the giant sphere that powers our home planet - the one full of gargantuan unobtanium-powered machines created by Atlantis' scientists in 20,000BC - but whatever.
Meanwhile, regular scientists have evidence that the Earth's magnetic field flips every 300,000 years. The problem here is that 780,000 years have passed since the last polarity change, which means that a new shift could be imminent. There's proof that the field's strength is falling down at a very fast rate over the last two hundred years, a fact that has lead some experts to believe it could disappear completely over the next 1000 years before it flips. Other boffins believe that this is just a fluctuation in the field.
If the first theory finally happens, the whole process will have catastrophic consequences to human civilisation and nature. Without a magnetic field, nothing will protect us against space radiation. The weather will go completely gaga, and the Sun will fry all our communications and navigation services, not to talk about all of us. At the same time, countless migrational species will get lost, affecting food chains and causing mayhem through the entire planet.
Fun, huh? But fret not, my dear Earthlings, as this may not be related to the acceleration of the pole movement. The only thing we know for sure is that the magnetic north pole has been moving since 1904 northeastward at 14km a year, accelerating in 1989 until it reached its current 55-60km a year speed in 2007. Chulliat says that it's difficult to forecast when the pole will arrive to Russia, if it finally does.
Whatever the case is, this is yet another reminder that life may be even shorter than it already is, so stop surfing the web now, go out, and enjoy it. [National Geographic]