Earth’s north magnetic pole is high-tailing it out of Canada.
The north magnetic pole — which guides many of the world’s navigation systems — was first discovered in 1831 and has been slowly shifting from Canada to Russia ever since.
However, in the last few years, its acceleration has picked up to 34 miles a year. Just a half-century ago, the magnetic north pole was wandering about 7 miles each year.
“Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now,” the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Center for Environmental Information wrote in a press release.
The report’s release was originally set for Jan. 15 but was delayed due to the US government shutdown.
Unlike the geographic north pole, which is fixed, the north magnetic pole changes based on the movement of Earth’s liquid core. This nickel and iron ocean lies about 1,800 miles below Earth’s surface and generates electric currents that produce the planet’s magnetic field.
Maintaining an accurate measurement of the north magnetic is especially crucial since the WMM is used by US and British military agencies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and smartphone technology, like Apple or Google Maps.
However, your iPhone probably won’t experience any difficulty, according to CNN. Any navigational changes will mostly affect the Arctic regions or, specifically, latitudes above 55 degrees.
“The difficulty is that we don’t have a way to directly observe what is happening in the Earth’s core so we have to make a lot of assumptions,” Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and NOA, who works on the WMM, told Motherboard.
Some scientists believe that Earth could be heading for a magnetic pole reversal. Research into rock signatures has shown that this can happen about every 250,000 years, except for the last one — that happened around 780,000 years ago.
One study from 2016 merely suggested that magnetic forces beneath Canada are weakening.
Either way, scientists have assured that there’s nothing imminent to worry about.
“The magnetic field (changes) continuously, but it is partly because of its natural behavior,” Ciaran Beggan, a geophysicist at the British Geological Survey, who also works on the WMM, told CNN.