EARTH's magnetic north pole is not where it should be thanks to strange and erratic movements that could spell aircraft, both and even your smartphone.
Magnetic North has driven so fast in recent decades that scientists are shrinking to keep navigation technologies that rely on magnetic poles to map the planet up to date.
On Monday, boffins released an update of where magnetic north really is, almost a year ahead of schedule.
The location of the magnetic poles is not static, but migrates as much as 14.5 kilometers each year, and the researchers are watching their movements.
For some reason, the magnetic north pole shines from Canada to Siberia, at a speed of 55 km a year – three times faster than scientists expected it to.
Experts say older estimates of magnetic north are no longer accurate enough for precise navigation.
The fast movement is a problem for compasses in smartphones and some consumer electronics.
Aircraft and ships are also dependent on magnetic north as backup if their GPS systems go wrong while the US military is using it to make parachute landings.
Flight paths are sometimes named after the magnetic north position and their names change if it moves.
For example, the airport in Fairbanks, Alaska, renamed a runway 1L-19R to 2L-20R in 2009.
Without an exact idea of how magnetic north is, many of our navigation systems may be in trouble – although GPS tools won't be affected as they rely on satellite technology.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the UK are updating the magnetic north location every five years.
But the latest update came early because of the pole's faster movement.
"The error is constantly increasing," told Arnaud Chulliat, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, Nature.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what is behind the strange behavior of Earth's magnetic field.
The Earth's magnetism comes from its burning hot core, which is filled with liquid iron that curves beneath the planet's surface.
As the earth rotates, the moving iron generates electric currents that create a magnetic field.
The field is constantly changing, and every 300,000 years the poles can even turn around.
The last time it happened about 780,000 years ago, some scientists warned that the earth is a flip too late – an event that can cause GPS chaos.
This story originally originated in The Sun and republished with permission.