Where are the Earth's Magnetic Poles?

North Magnetic Pole (actually the south pole of the Earth's magnetic field)

Connect me to the Canadian Geological Survey home page for more information about the North Magnetic pole.

South Magnetic Pole (the north pole of the Earth's magnetic field)

The Basic Facts:

The location of the magnetic pole is not fixed. It changes slowly with time.

The magnetic pole in the geographic north is called the Earth's North Magnetic Pole by convention. The North Magnetic Pole is actually the south pole of the Earth's magnetic field. This came about because the north pole of a compass was defined as the pole that points to the geomagnetic north. However, since opposite poles attract, the north pole of the magnetic needle in the compass must point toward the south pole of the Earth's magnetic field.

The Earth's surface magnetic field has a strength and a direction. The sites of the magnetic poles are the locations where the magnetic field lines are completely vertical. Maps with the locations of the magnetic poles are given above. At these locations, harmful radiation from the sun more easily penetrates to the Earth's middle and lower atmospheric layers.

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