Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Magnetic north is moving 40km a year
From Radio New Zealand
From time immemorial, man has navigated by the stars. Then, over two thousand years ago, someone in China discovered the lodestone, naturally magnetized iron ore. Oddly, its north-south orientation was not used at first by seamen, but instead by builders and architects, to place buildings according to feng shui. But then seafarers realized that if a lodestone was hung from a string, its natural orientation was a great aid for navigation.
About 1300, compass needles -- made by striking iron needles with a lodestone -- appeared in Europe, probably adopted by Crusader sea-captains, who noticed them being used by their Islamic foes. And so the discovery of new routes and new lands accelerated, as navigators had a means of telling the position of north.
But now, according to a RNZ report, that position is moving, rather rapidly. The north magnetic pole has crept unpredictably from the coast of northern Canada a century ago to the middle of the Arctic Ocean, moving towards Russia.