Canadian Geographic
Left navigation image
Arctic and Taiga

Land of the two poles

The Arctic boasts a geographic north pole and a north magnetic pole. The former, the earth’s northernmost point, lies about 725 kilometres north of Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Ocean. Year-round ice covers the north pole. Recently, open water was observed there, possibly a sign of global warming. The north magnetic pole is more than 1,600 kilometres south of the geographic pole. Like its southern counterpart in Antarctica, this is the site where the earth’s magnetic field reaches maximum intensity. It is the point toward which all compasses point, and it is constantly moving — at an average rate of 15 kilometres a year. The map traces its ever-shifting path. In the 1990s, the magnetic pole was located on Ellef Ringnes Island, Nunavut; by 2001, it had moved on to 80° North 110° West; and by 2004 it was located at 82.3° North 113.4° West.


True north This self-running animation begins with an image of observation equipment on the tundra, then fades to an animated map that depicts the movement of the North Magnetic Pole through the Arctic Archipelago from 1831 to 2001.


On the next page:

The power of permafrost

Go now!  Go now!
Quiz :

What is the most sparsely populated region in Canada?

Atlantic Region
Arctic and Taiga
Pacific and Western Mountains