Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Earth's Poles on the Move

Tampa International was closed for a brief time period but not because of weather; it was because of earth's changing poles. The moving of the poles is nothing new our planet's magnetic field is in a constant state of change. At the moment, the North Pole is located in northern Canada, about 600 km from the nearest town: Resolute Bay, population 300, where a popular T-shirt reads "Resolute Bay isn't the end of the world, but you can see it from here."

The poles have always been on the move but not at the current 'rapid' pace. The north pole used to travel at  at an average speed of 10 km per year, lately accelerating to 40 km per year. At this rate it will exit North America and reach Siberia in a few decades. So why did this slow shift affect an airport in Florida? Well, what use to be runway 36, which stood for 360 degrees, now is closer to 10 degrees because of the shifting poles. Other airports across the country will face similar problems in the upcoming years. Jacksonville will have to relabel its runways sometime during the year 2012.    

Earth's North Pole continues to move away from North America and towards Asia. This means the South Pole is moving closer towards North America. But remember, the pace is slow, at only about 130 feet a year.

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