The perambulating North Pole

It appears that the North Pole (not the magnetic pole) has been located at Hudson Bay, USA., in Greenland’s waters, and indeed near the Himalayas. The idea that the poles can wander is fascinating. Would this have required the whole of Earth to tilt? Or, did the continents move; if so, why? What brings the Poles back home, so to speak? There does not seem to be much agreement as to the processes involved.

The following extracts were taken from the section titled ‘Wandering Poles’ in ‘The Ice Age: One of history’s biggest mystery’ by Edward F. Malkowski (from

“According to Hapgood’s theory of wandering poles, every 20,000 to 30,000 years the earth’s continental plates move as a single unit, rapidly over great distances. This phenomenon occurs today, known as continental drift, but at a much slower rate. If conditions arise that created an imbalance in the earth’s gyroscopic rotation, his theory stipulates that the earth’s plates would move in such a manner in order to return the earth to a balanced spin. Geologic evidence, suggesting that the poles may have been in different positions during the Pleistocene, is impressive.

Based on geomagnetic and carbon dating evidence, he identifies the locations of the four previous poles and maps out their transitional paths. Seventeen thousand years ago, the North Pole was located in the Hudson Bay and over 5,000 years moved to it’s current position. Before that, the North Pole was located in the Greenland Sea 75,000 year ago, and moved southwest to the Hudson Bay. Prior to the Greenland Sea location, the pole was located in the Yukon Territory of Canada.

How this movement occurs is easily explained by the earth’s composition. We live on the crust, the outer surface, which is comprised of six main continental plates and a few smaller ones. The inner core consists of solid iron surrounded by an outer core of liquid iron. Surrounding the core is the mantle that is composed of molten rock (lower mantle) and solid rock (upper mantle).

The upper mantle and crust are loosely connected and able to slide against each other, the least effect of which is continental drift. Theoretically, each layer is capable of movement independent of other layers. According to Hapgood, the top two layers can slide, if certain forces were applied, while the core, and the axis and orbit of the planet, remain unchanged. The difficult part is what force causes the slippage.

In Hapgood’s opinion, the centrifugal momentum of ice caps, eccentric to the poles, provides this force. The weight of the ice on the poles creates an imbalance in the Earth’s rotation. Eventually, this builds to a point where a change is required to correct the imbalance. Hapgood realized that the entire planet did not need to be re-positioned around its axis to maintain its balance.

Only the outer crust needed to move, just as the loose skin of a peeled orange can slide around the inner fruit. He envisioned a catastrophic and dramatic move of the entire crust that allowed the polar ice caps to melt in a new, warmer climate. Ice would then begin to build at the new poles, awaiting the next shift.

The crust’s rapid movement, of course, would create environmental mayhem. If the current level of seismic and volcanic activity were a result of plates shifting between one and four centimeters per year, a much faster rate of change would likely be apocalyptic.

Comment: Would not the processes involved depend upon the ability of the uppermost layer of Earth to move freely over the layer below? Alternatively, could not cosmic collisions cause the poles to move? They could then recover what might be their normal positions gradually. Sporadic collisions are surely not improbable.