But its swift pace toward Siberia in recent years at a rate of around 34 miles per year has forced scientists to update the World Magnetic Model - used by civilian navigation systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and U.S. and British militaries - a year ahead of schedule.
At the end of 2017, the magnetic north pole crossed the global date line.
The U.S.' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a statement Monday that scientists had updated the World Magnetic Model, used by smartphone and consumer electronics for maps and Global Positioning System services, ahead of time to account for unplanned changes in the Earth's magnetic field.
The magnetic north pole has been moving so fast that scientists on Monday released an update of where it really was, almost a year ahead of schedule.
Magnetic field of Earth. In the five years between public updates, magnetic observations from the European Space Agency's Swarm mission are studied to track the movement of the poles. Airplanes and boats also rely on magnetic north usually as backup navigation.
Compasses have been used for navigation long before Global Positioning System was ever even dreamed of. The Fairbanks airport renamed runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.
Since 1831 when it was first measured in the Canadian Arctic it has moved about 1400 miles (2300 km) towards Siberia. Its speed has jumped from about 9mph to 34mph since 2000.
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The World Magnetic Model (WMM) enables compasses to point north and is used in navigation systems and was updated to keep it accurate.
The NOAA said Earth's magnetic field changes because of "unpredictable flows in Earth's core". The one thing scientists can all agree upon is that the movement of magnetic poles is impossible to accurately forecast for the future.
Defined as the point on the Northern Hemisphere where the world's magnetic field points vertically downwards, the North Magnetic Pole moves over time, due to moving currents in the earth's core. Records of ancient magnetic fields from extremely old rocks show that the poles can even flip - an event that has occurred an average of three times every million years. Only by tracking it, said University of Leeds geophysicist Phil Livermore, can scientists hope to understand what's going on.
When it does, it will not be like a coin flip, but will take 1,000 or more years, experts said.
Dr Lathrop sees a flip coming sooner rather than later because of the weakened magnetic field and an area over the South Atlantic has already reversed beneath Earth's surface.
Whales are also attuned to magnetic fields.
That could bother some birds that use magnetic fields to navigate, and an overall weakening of the magnetic field is not good for people and especially satellites and astronauts.
Magnetic declination - the angle between the magnetic north and true north - changes over time.