So which is Earths north pole and which is the south pole?

Geographically we know the the north pole is… well… in the north and that the south pole is in the south. This was introduced when our maps where first drawn – we will get onto maps shortly!

Earth is almost 90% made up of iron, which is of course magnetic, and as a result means that we have a north pole and south pole in terms of magnetism. The irritating thing (okay… it’s not that irritating) is that the geographical north pole is actually magnetically south and the geographical south pole is actually the magnetically north pole.

This can be proven in a number of way – of which will be determined in the year 13 module – electromagnetism. The north pole of a magnet points towards the geographical north pole because it is magnetically south!

What’s more is that the because Earths core is molten, the iron within it is never stationary and is almost ‘swooshing’ around, this means that the magnetic field moves around too – constantly.

Furthermore, the geographical north pole is not in the same place as the magnetic south pole!

And to put how far apart they are in to perspective, they are about 1800 miles apart (or 2880 km for those sensible people who prefer S.I. units). This is quite a significant difference in position, but fortunately Earth’s circumference is much larger than this and so to most people on Earth this is not a problem.