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In this activity students will plot the location of the north magnetic pole for the last 2000 years on a map and explore how it has changed location. They will discover that before igneous rocks cool and harden, the liquid magma is acted on by the magnetic field of Earth and that this causes some of the iron atoms in the rock to align with the magnetic field and "point" toward the North Geomagnetic Pole of Earth. Students also learn that when scientists analyzed rocks formed at different times in the past, they found that the magnetic pointers did not point to the same location on the Earth and that they interpreted this to mean that the position of the magnetic North Pole had moved over time. They will come to realize that the magnetic North Pole is still moving today and, using modern instruments, this movement can be measured from year to year.
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