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Earth Sciences

How do the Earth's magnetic poles differ from the geographic poles?


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September 30, 2009 5:27AM

Geographic poles are fixed locations defined by Earth's rotational axis. They are 90% of latitude above and below the equator (circumference is greatest there due to the rotational "bulge"). The magnetic poles are governed by the rotating electric currents in the liquid iron around Earth's core. The poles can migrate in any direction by up to 15 km (9 miles) per year, and do not need to be antipodal (on exact opposite sides of the planet).