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 north or south. It also protects the planet from the Sun’s harmful rays.
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.
Earth’s Magnetism Vocabulary
- Compass: a device used for determining direction
- Electrical currents: currents of electricity
- Alignment: Position of objects in relation to each other. Typically in one line or parallel to one another.
- 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
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.
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