All About Earth’s Magnetism

Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth's Magnetism - Image of the Earth's Magnetic Poles
Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth's Magnetism - Image of the Earth's Magnetic Poles

Both Earth’s inner and outer core are metal, but the outer core remains liquid while pressure keeps the inner core solid. The liquid outer core is constantly moving. This moving metal generates a magnetic field around the planet. This magnetic field makes a compass point to the north or south. It also protects the planet from the Sun’s harmful rays.

The Earth’s magnetism is a natural phenomenon that is created by the movement of molten iron in its core. This magnetic field acts as a protective shield, deflecting harmful solar radiation and cosmic particles away from the planet’s surface. It also plays a crucial role in navigation, as it allows compasses to align with the Earth’s magnetic poles.

Earths Magnetism Facts For Kids

  • The earth acts like a giant magnet.
  • It creates a magnetic field around us.
  • Earth’s magnetism comes from its core.
  • The North and South poles are magnetic.
  • Compasses work using Earth’s magnetism.
  • The magnetic field protects us from solar radiation.
  • Earth’s magnetic poles can switch places.
  • This flip happens every few hundred thousand years.
  • Earth’s magnetism helps birds migrate.
  • Magnetism affects electronics and technology.


The intriguing study of geomagnetism reveals that our Earth behaves much like a colossal magnet, with its magnetic North and South poles closely positioned to what we recognize as the Earth’s geographical North and South poles. This magnetic field not only serves as a navigational aid, causing compasses to point North and assisting explorers and hikers in their journeys but also plays a vital protective role by shielding us from detrimental solar radiation.

Without it, life as we understand it would be impossible! Remarkably, this magnetic field is generated by the swirling liquid iron within the Earth’s outer core, a fact that underscores the awe-inspiring complexities of our planet.

Earth’s Magnetic Field

Our planet’s magnetic field, a robust and intriguing characteristic, behaves like a colossal, unseeable barrier safeguarding us from harmful solar radiation. It originates deep within the Earth’s core where the spinning molten iron generates a magnetic effect.

This field doesn’t only make compasses functional by always pointing them towards the North Pole, but it also creates the mesmerizing Northern and Southern Lights or auroras. Despite its critical functions, the magnetic field is dynamic, capable of changing and shifting over time. Researchers even postulate that it has reversed its poles on several occasions throughout the Earth’s history, further demonstrating its fascinating nature.


Earth’s magnetosphere, a massive invisible shield generated by the planet’s magnetism, serves as a crucial protective barrier against the dangerous solar wind and cosmic radiation emanating from the sun and space. This magnetism is a byproduct of the churning liquid iron within Earth’s outer core. Without the magnetosphere, life on Earth would undergo drastic changes.

The magnetosphere also contributes to the creation of the stunning Northern and Southern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis. These celestial spectacles occur when solar-charged particles interact with the magnetosphere. Therefore, the next time you witness the mesmerizing hues of these lights painting the sky, remember to appreciate the vital role of Earth’s remarkable magnetosphere.

Geomagnetic Reversal (Pole Shift)

The Earth is characterized by a robust magnetic field, likened to an immense invisible magnet, which is attributable to the swirling molten iron within our planet’s outer core. Interestingly, every few hundred thousand years, a phenomenon known as a Geomagnetic Reversal or Pole Shift occurs, where the North and South Poles interchange their positions.

This event can be whimsically described as Earth deciding to alter its magnetic ‘hairstyle.’ The most recent occurrence of this fascinating natural process was around 780,000 years ago, implying that we are not due for another one in the foreseeable future. However, it’s reassuring to note that scientists hold the consensus that such shifts do not pose any threat to terrestrial life.

Auroras (Northern and Southern Lights)

The Earth’s magnetism is instrumental in facilitating the awe-inspiring natural spectacles known as the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, and Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights. The magnetic field of the Earth, being most potent near the North and South Poles, directs the electrically charged particles from the sun towards these poles.

As these particles make contact with atmospheric gases, a reaction occurs, resulting in the gases radiating vivid colors such as green, blue, yellow, red, and purple, thereby creating mesmerizing auroras. Consequently, without the Earth’s magnetism, these magnificent displays of natural light would not be possible!

Van Allen Radiation Belts

The Earth, behaving as a colossal magnet, generates what we know as the Van Allen Radiation Belts, an influential creation of James Van Allen, the scientist after whom they are named. Comprising two large concentric spheres of charged particles, these belts are anchored in place by Earth’s magnetic field and serve as a protective shield against potentially harmful solar radiation. This radiation could jeopardize satellites and pose risks to astronauts, making the comprehension of these belts crucial for space exploration. However, there’s no cause for concern on Earth’s surface as these Van Allen Belts are situated far above us, thereby not impacting our daily lives.

Solar Wind

The magnetism of Earth plays a crucial role, particularly in relation to the Solar Wind. This stream of charged particles is continuously emitted by the Sun, providing not only light and heat but also potentially damaging force. However, the Earth’s magnetic field acts as a protective shield, similar to a superhero’s force field, deflecting these harmful particles and causing them to flow around our planet.

This not only ensures the safety of everything on Earth but also results in breathtaking phenomena such as the Northern and Southern Lights. Thus, Earth’s magnetism is essentially our primary defense against the Sun’s intense Solar Wind.


The Earth’s magnetism, or geomagnetism, is a captivating element of geophysics subtly influencing our daily lives in ways we might not often consider. This magnetic field, comparable to a colossal bar magnet at the planet’s core, originates from the motion of molten iron within the Earth’s outer core. This movement creates electric currents that generate a magnetic field extending far into space, serving as a shield for our planet against damaging solar radiation.

Without this magnetic protection, life as we currently know it would cease to exist. Furthermore, Earth’s magnetism is the fundamental force that enables compasses to function, providing directional guidance for explorers and adventurers globally for hundreds of years.

Magnetic Declination

Magnetic Declination, a captivating characteristic of Earth’s magnetism, serves as an essential component for navigation, functioning as an unseen compass guiding our journey. The Earth’s magnetic field, interestingly, doesn’t align precisely with the geographic North and South Poles, creating a discrepancy when using a compass as it directs towards the magnetic North rather than the true North.

This variation, termed Magnetic Declination, fluctuates depending on one’s geographical location on Earth. Analogous to altering our watches according to different time zones during travel, navigators similarly adjust their compasses corresponding to their location’s magnetic declination. This intriguing feature of Earth’s magnetism thus significantly contributes to our exploration and navigation across our magnificent planet.


Magnetotellurics, an intriguing area of research, provides insights into the Earth’s magnetism, a phenomenon that transforms our planet into a colossal magnet. This global magnetism is a result of the molten iron and nickel churning within Earth’s outer core, generating electric currents, and subsequently creating the magnetic field.

The crux of magnetotelluric studies lies in exploring this process, and the interaction of these magnetic fields with the Earth’s crust and mantle. Advancements in magnetotelluric techniques enable scientists to map the underground, offering valuable insights into potential earthquake zones or the location of precious minerals. So, every time you interact with a magnet, bear in mind that our Earth is the grandest magnet in existence!

Fun Geography Facts for Kids All about Earth's Magnetism - Earth's Magnetic Field Protecting Earth from the Sun's Rays image
Fun Geography Facts for Kids All about Earth’s Magnetism – Earth’s Magnetic Field Protecting Earth from the Sun’s Rays image

Fun Facts about Earth’s Magnetism for Kids

  • Heat and the Earth’s spin keep the outer core moving. This movement causes electrical currents in the core, which is mostly iron. The electrical currents create a magnetic field that extends into space.
  • The magnetic field is tilted slightly from the Earth’s axis.
  • Sometimes the magnetic field is stronger than at other times. Sometimes the magnetic field’s alignment moves from the Earth’s spin axis. The magnetic North Pole keeps moving. Right now, the magnetic North Pole is very close to the Earth’s axis. One hundred years ago, it was in Arctic Canada.
  • The magnetic South Pole also moves.
  • The magnetosphere is the magnetic force that extends into space. This force acts like a shield, protecting the Earth from harmful gases and charged particles that would destroy the atmosphere.
Geography Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth's Magnetism - Magnetosphere image
Geography Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth’s Magnetism – Magnetosphere image

Earth’s Magnetism Vocabulary

  1. Compass: a device used for determining direction
  2. Electrical currents: currents of electricity
  3. Alignment: Position of objects in relation to each other. Typically in one line or parallel to one another.
  4. Magnetosphere: a shield of magnetic energy around the Earth

Learn More All about Earth’s Magnetism

Watch this awesome Earth’s magnetism video for kids:

Bill Nye the Science Guy explains about the characteristics of a magnet and how magnetism works.

Earth’s Magnetism Q&A

Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth's Magnetism - Image of the Earth's Magnetic Poles
Fun Facts for Kids All about Earth’s Magnetism – Image of the Earth’s Magnetic Poles

Question: Is a compass accurate?

Answer: Because the magnetic North Pole is not aligned with the true North Pole, you must make adjustments when using a compass. GPS navigation systems use satellites, which aren’t affected by this.