Opinion: The Earth's magnetic pole shifted

The Indonesian earthquake did not cause the Earth's rotational axis to shift but the Earth's magnetic pole was shifted

Earth (Image credit of Pexels)

Earth (Image credit of Pexels)

I have been taking walks at the same time every morning for more than six years. I get up at 6:30 AM, wash my face, check my emails, and begin my daily walk around 7:20. At this time, the sun is rising from the Eastern ridgeline. Oftentimes, I will use my iPhone to check the position of the sun.

At the spring and autumn equinox the sun will rise from N90°E. After the spring equinox, the sun will gradually move north until it reaches N65°E on the summer solstice. Likewise, the sun will move southwards in the fall and reach N115°E on the winter solstice. The sunlight hours are 12 hours for spring and autumn equinox. Daylight hours become longer in the summer and shorter in the winter.

However, a few days ago (October 7, 2018) when I checked my compass, I was surprised to notice the position of the sun in the compass indicated N82°E, and the true east (E) of the compass was located at the right side (southside) of the sun. I checked it again with the second compass app in my iPhone, but it was not a mistake. This means either the rotational axis of the earth, or the magnetic pole of the earth had shifted.

After returning home from my walk, I put the iPhone on the table and aimed it to the power line tower located about a mile away from my house. Through my repeated observations with my iPhone compass, I know this tower is located exactly at the south of my house. The sun will move but the tower will not move. When the iPhone was aimed at the power line tower, the compass reading was N172°S. This confirmed magnetic south (S) had moved westward about 8 degrees.

This is a major discovery.

We know the rotational axis of the earth and the NS pole of the magnetic field are different. We also know, when a large earthquake occurs, the earth’s rotational axis will sway. In about 1983 an Indian seismologist who taught at the Toronto University in Canada (a friend of mine, but I've forgotten his name) published a paper that showed the earth's rotational axis will sway after a big quake.

I remembered that the rising sun's position was N90E two weeks ago on the Autumnal Equinox Day (September 22). This means the axis shift had occurred in between September 22 and October 7. During this two-week period a large magnitude 7.5 earthquake occurred at offshore Indonesia on September 28. So, although nobody noticed it, I believe that the axis shift of the Earth was caused by the magnitude 7.5 Indonesian earthquake on September 28th.

I am a retired seismologist for more than 20 years, so I have no way to publish this discovery at a professional conference. But, I can claim this discovery in my blog and hope other seismologists will follow up to investigate it.

There are some other problems. I understood the axis of the earth moved due to a major earthquake, but the Indian professor in Toronto showed "the earth’s axis swayed after a major earthquake." Was it the earth’s rotational axis, or the earth's magnetic pole that shifted?

The shift confirmed with a compass does not confirm whether it was the earth’s rotational axis or the magnetic axis. Or, maybe both axes shifted. How can we check this?

There is one way to check it.

The earth is a star moving around the sun. But, even if one or both of the axes moved, it would not change the relative position of the other stars in the sky. By checking the positions of constellations or planets at a regular time, movement of the earth’s rotational axis could be confirmed.

I have a habit of going to bed at a fixed time and also do some simple exercise before going to bed. I also observe several stars from the bedroom window. I see Mars in the southwest sky, and at the west of it is another star I believe to be Jupiter. I checked the positions of these two stars and confirmed their positions did not change from about a month ago. Although it is a rough estimate, I believe the earth’s rotational axis of earth did not move, and the earth’s magnetic axis shifted instead.

Then I came up with another method to check.

It is to check the position of the TV satellite instead of stars. Nowadays many households receive TV signals from the TV satellite by using a dish antenna attached to the roof. The dish antenna is aimed at a geostationary TV satellite located at N180°S and approximately 35,786 kilometers from the earth. If the earth’s rotational axis had shifted from N180°S to N172°S, the aim of the dish antenna will shift together with the earth, and the TV reception will be affected. During these days I notice there was no television reception problems. This indicated that the Indonesian earthquake did not cause the earth’s rotational axis to shift but the magnetic axis had shifted. I would be very happy if some geophysicists would check this discovery.

Andy Chang

Andy Chang is a retired geophysicist. He received a BS degree from Cheng Kung University in Taiwan; MS degree from University of Missouri at Rolla; and a Ph.D. from Rice University.

He had worked for DARPA’s nuclear explosion monitoring program using Large Aperture Seismic Array (LASA) and Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR). He had also worked for the Navy’s acoustic research program. He can be reached at bunsho2@gmail.com