MadSci Network: Earth Sciences

Re: Is it possible to have a big enough magnet to move earths magnetic poles?

Date: Fri May 5 23:40:19 2006
Posted By: David Dunbar, Staff, Geophysics, GeoCenter, Inc.
Area of science: Earth Sciences
ID: 1146089520.Es


Moving the magnetic poles is a tall order. You would need a very large electromagnet and an enormous amount of power.

This has actually been discussed in recent years. The Earth’s field has dropped about half of it’s strength since Roman times and 10% or so in the last hundred years. The magnetic poles after being relatively stable for several hundred years have moved 40+ km a year for the last few years. If the north magnetic pole continues it’s recent motion for another fifty years it will be in Siberia. This has fueled speculation that the field is entering a reversal.

The idea was to build a series of coils that would attempt to produce a field to approximate the current field. I generated this figure to give you an idea of the scale of the project.

The figure was generated using the Generic Mapping Tools which I have been using lately.

NOAA’s web site has a Geomagnetism FAQ which has maps of the poles motions. Another page has maps of field strength and declination. The American Geophysical Union also has a lot of information on the magnetic field.


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