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The North Pole

Explain why one cannot find the North Pole of the Earth using only a simple compass.

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A compass is held in a horizontal position to find the direction of magnetic north of the place. The compass needle is constrained to rotate in a horizontal plane. Because of this constraint only a pair of horizontal forces can produce a couple on the compass needle and rotate it. Earth's magnetic field (BH) at any place is not strictly horizontal. It makes an angle with the horizontal (say theta) and horizontal component of the Earth's field is BH cos theta. In equatorial regions Earth's field is almost horizontal and the horizontal component is significant. But as we move towards the polar regions of the earth the field becomes more and more inclined towards the ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides an explanation regarding locating the North Pole.