AQA GCSE Physics

Revision Notes

7.1.4 The Earth's Magnetic Field

The Earth's Magnetic Field

  • On Earth, in the absence of any magnet or magnetic materials, a magnetic compass will always point north
    • This is evidence that the core of the Earth is magnetic and creates its own magnetic field
  • The Earth’s magnetic field is similar to that of a bar magnet

Comparison between Earths magnetic field and a bar magnet, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Physics revision notes

Comparison between the Earth’s Magnetic Field and a Bar Magnet

  • On Earth, the north arrow on a magnetic compass will point towards the geographic North Pole (in the Arctic Ocean)
    • This is because the geographic North Pole is a magnetic south pole (the magnetic field lines point into the pole)
    • The north pole of the magnetic compass is attracted to the Earth’s magnetic south pole
  • The geographic South Pole (in Antarctica) is a magnetic north pole (the magnetic field lines point out of the pole)
  • The north pole of the magnetic compass is repelled from the Earth’s magnetic north pole

Geographic and Magnetic Poles, downloadable IGCSE & GCSE Physics revision notes

Geographic and Magnetic Poles of the Earth

Exam Tip

The Earth’s north pole actually acts like the south pole of a magnet: That’s why the north pole of a magnet is attracted to it.

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