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Discuss the concept of geomagnetism and explain the impact of the recent shift in the Earth’s magnetic pole.

Topic:  Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Discuss the concept of geomagnetism and explain the impact of the recent shift in the Earth’s magnetic pole. (250 words)

Reference: National Geographic 

Why this question:

The question is from the Geography subject of GS paper I and is based on the concept of Geomagnetism.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate, one must discuss the concept of geomagnetism and explain the impact of the recent shift in the Earth’s magnetic pole.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain geomagnetism and mention the facts related to recent shift in Earth’s magnetic pole.

Body:

Start by explaining the aspects of Geomagnetism, Geomagnetism is the study of the dynamics of the Earth’s magnetic field, which is produced in the outer core. Discuss the shift – Earth’s magnetic field is known to have wandered and flipped in the geologic past.  The wandering of the magnetic pole has generally been quite slow, around 9 km a year, allowing scientists to easily keep track of its position. But since the turn of the century, this speed has increased to 50 km a year. Highlight the fact that recently, Earth’s magnetic North Pole has drifted so fast that the World Magnetic Model (a large spatial-scale representation of the Earth’s magnetic field) have had to officially redefine the location of the magnetic North Pole much earlier than expected. Discuss the impact of the shift in detail; explain how these changes can affect health and safety, and economic well-being in a myriad of ways like they can hamper navigation and surveying techniques, affects the power of Earth’s magnetic field to deflect harmful solar radiation and cosmic rays from entering Earth’s atmosphere etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to understand such geophysical changes for better understanding of the Earth.