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Podcast: The Mystery of the Moving Magnetic Field

This week on the podcast, we talk to Professor of Applied Mathematics Rainer Hollerbach, about how he and his colleagues at Leeds University think they have a solution for the Mystery of the Moving Magnetic Field.

What's the Mystery of the Moving Magnetic Field, you ask?

Well, the earth's magnetic field is drifting westward, and no one knows why. It's a mystery! The movement does not take place everywhere on earth, but is concentrated near the equator. People first noticed this westward drift in the 18th century; it really threw a wrench in the use of magnetism for navigation because after a few decades, maps of the magnetic field were no longer accurate. In the 20th century scientists discovered that the earth's magnetic field comes from the liquid outer core, which explains why the motion can occur in one place and not in others; however, scientists still don't know what's driving the motion.

Listen to the podcast to hear how the inner-most layers of our planet may explain this magnetic mystery.


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