Stoner: North Pole Is "Moving Really Fast" → Washingtons Blog
Stoner: North Pole Is "Moving Really Fast" - Washingtons Blog

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stoner: North Pole Is "Moving Really Fast"

The headline is intentionally goofy, but the science is real.

In 2005, National Geographic wrote:

New research shows the (North magnetic) pole moving at rapid clip—25 miles (40 kilometers) a year.

Over the past century the pole has moved 685 miles (1,100 kilometers) from Arctic Canada toward Siberia, says Joe Stoner, a paleomagnetist at Oregon State University.

At its current rate the pole could move to Siberia within the next half-century, Stoner said.

"It's moving really fast," he said. "We're seeing something that hasn't happened for at least 500 years."

Stoner presented his team's research at the American Geophysical Union's meeting last week in San Francisco.

Lorne McKee, a geomagnetic scientist at Natural Resources Canada, says that Stoner's data fits his own readings.

"The movement of the pole definitely appears to be accelerating," he said.

The shift is likely a normal oscillation of the Earth's magnetic field, Stoner said, and not the beginning of a flip-flop of the north and south magnetic poles, a phenomenon that last occurred 780,000 years ago.

National Geographic now points out that the pole is shifting at the rate of 40 miles, instead of 25 miles, per year.


  1. Well, Santa appears to be adjusting well and Rudolph's red nose has "come through" to get all our gifts to us on time these past few years. It's truly a testimony to the building skills of those elves that they manufacture those toys and gifts with such quality and precision - even as the North Pole moves really, really fast.

  2. The article linked and quoted is from 2005. This is the newer article, and it says the North Pole is actually moving at 40 miles a year!

  3. So at that rate, the pole shift would not complete until around 300 years, give or take a few.

    Wheh, thats a load off my mind...

  4. Well actually you'd need another point of reference in terms of polar shift, the rate in 2000 would be really good to know then we could figure out the rate of change of the change. Though I don't think it's that predictable...

    After a not so rigorous google session I have decided that this information does not exist anywhere in the world. Or at least not on the first page of results, and I'll be damned if I'm going to look at page 2.


→ Thank you for contributing to the conversation by commenting. We try to read all of the comments (but don't always have the time).

→ If you write a long comment, please use paragraph breaks. Otherwise, no one will read it. Many people still won't read it, so shorter is usually better (but it's your choice).

→ The following types of comments will be deleted if we happen to see them:

-- Comments that criticize any class of people as a whole, especially when based on an attribute they don't have control over

-- Comments that explicitly call for violence

→ Because we do not read all of the comments, I am not responsible for any unlawful or distasteful comments.