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True Polar Wander

12 October 2012
Inside science

At http://phys.org/print269161407.html … apparently, computer simulated models are telling scientists we are in a phase of 'true polar wander' – which sounds a bit like the 2012 thing (it ain't over yet). Solid body drift, which is known as 'true polar wander' is said to cause a shift in the orientation of Earth's landmasses and is distinct from the movement of tectonic plates or movements of the magnetic poles – which is known as 'apparent polar wander'. What is happening, it is thought, is that Earth's solid interior is drifting in relation to the rotation axis. Well, I never.

Don't get all excited however as this is uniformitarian style polar wander and the estimate in in the order of 0.2 degrees per million years. That is one fifth of one per cent in a million years in oldfashioned speak. The calculation is defined by the hypothesis of 'moving hot spots' in the Pacific – which may or may not be happening.

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