The movement of magnetic fields demands updating of GPS navigation maps that use the Earth’s magnetic field as reference, and it is faster than ever.

Compass over Earth
The Magnetic North is shifting and it is influencing the GPS maps that need constant updates. Now, it is speeding up towards Siberia and scientists don't know why.

(— January 31, 2019) — The Earth’s magnetic field, the basis for modern global navigation systems, is passing through a state of disorder, pushing the North Pole from Canada towards Siberia, and no one is sure why this is happening.

The North Pole slides from the direction of Canada towards Siberia and is moving at an unusually high speed of about 50 km per year.

Due to the emerging situation and “unusual” rapid movement, scientists must issue urgent updates to maps which are using the electronic navigation systems. The worst thing about the situation is that it is currently unknown as to what causes the magnetic field to move so rapidly.

The magnetic field is generated by melted metals surrounding the firm core of the earth which is in constant motion. This motion generates currents and the corresponding magnetic field which moves slightly every year, but it is speeding up.

The Northern Magnetic Pole last year passed the International Date Line (an imaginary line on Earth, contrary to the Greenlandic Meridian, changing the date when it crossed), at a speed of 55 km per year, which is more than three times faster than it was before the mid-1990s . It is now located on the eastern hemisphere. It is separated from Canada and is now approaching Siberia.

Scientists believe that a stream of liquid iron under Canada could be responsible for the movement of the poles. This is causing a weakening of the magnetic field below, allowing Siberia to get under the floor, Nature reports.

The world magnetic model (a large spatial image of the Earth’s magnetic field) is updated over five-year intervals to ensure that modern navigation can monitor changes in the magnetic field of the Earth. The next calibration was scheduled for 2020, but by 2018, it needed to go through urgent updates.

Scientists should release the updated version soon, hoping that this new model will last until 2020.