Definitions

positive magnetic pole

South Magnetic Pole

The Earth's South Magnetic Pole is the wandering point on the Earth's surface where the geomagnetic field lines are directed vertically upwards. It should not be confused with the lesser known South Geomagnetic Pole described later.

For historical reasons, the "end" of a magnet that points (roughly) north is itself called the "north pole" of the magnet, and the other end, pointing south, is called magnet's "south pole". Because unlike poles attract, the Earth's South Magnetic Pole is physically actually a magnetic north pole (see also North Magnetic Pole – Polarity).

The South Magnetic Pole is constantly shifting due to changes in the Earth's magnetic field. As of 2005 it was calculated to lie at , just off the coast of Wilkes Land, Antarctica. That point lies outside the Antarctic Circle. It is moving north west by about 10 to 15 kilometers per year (see also Polar drift).

North Magnetic Pole (2001) (2004 est) (2005 est)
South Magnetic Pole (1998) . (2004 est)

Expeditions

On January 16, 1909 three men (Douglas Mawson, Edgeworth David, and Alistair Mackay) from Sir Ernest Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition claimed to have found the South Magnetic Pole , which was at that time located on land. However, there is now some doubt as to whether their location was correct

South Geomagnetic Pole

The Earth's geomagnetic field can be approximated by a tilted dipole (like a bar magnet) placed at the center of the Earth. The South Geomagnetic Pole is the point where the axis of this best-fitting tilted dipole intersects the Earth's surface in the southern hemisphere. As of 2005 it was calculated to be located at , near to Vostok Station. Because the field is not an exact dipole, the South Geomagnetic Pole does not coincide with the South Magnetic Pole. Furthermore, the South Geomagnetic Pole is wandering for the same reason its magnetic counterpart wanders.

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