A compass uses a magnet that points north according to the Earth's natural magnetic field. In many compasses, the indicator is a magnetic needle mounted on a spindle that allows it to swing freely, while in others there may be multiple magnets and a liquid base to dampen oscillations.Know More
Earth has two magnetic poles, one near the northernmost point on the globe and one near the southernmost point. The pull of these poles is strong enough to influence magnets everywhere on the planet. The magnet inside a compass is mounted so it may swing freely, and it naturally falls in line with the Earth's magnetic field, indicating north.
Technically, the northern magnetic pole of the Earth is the south pole of the Earth's magnetic field because it attracts the "north" end of magnets. Opposite poles of magnets attract, and the north pole of a magnet is attracted to the north magnetic pole, which is the south pole of the magnetic field.
The magnetic poles do not totally correspond with the northernmost and southernmost points on the globe, and they can wander over time, slightly changing the official direction of magnetic north. In addition, the magnetic field of the Earth has weakened and grown stronger many times in history, and on occasion, the poles have even swapped places.Learn more about Geology
A compass works by utilizing the Earth's magnetism in order to find directions. Its invention enabled people to perform navigation over long distances, opening up the sea for exploration. The earliest compasses have been traced to the Chinese Song dynasty in the form of magnetized metal pieces floating in bowls of water.Full Answer >
Lodestone is a naturally occurring magnet made of magnetite, which is an oxide of iron. Unlike ordinary rust, magnetite forms when iron oxidizes under very dry conditions. Lodestone is the strongest magnet found in nature.Full Answer >
Natural magnets are minerals or metals that generate a stable magnetic field without artificial inducement. They are different from artificial magnets, which are manufactured by humans. All natural magnets are permanent, although artificial magnets can be either permanent or temporary.Full Answer >
The earth's magnetic field causes a compass to point north, as compasses are powered by magnets. The magnets inside compasses are drawn to the magnetic North Pole, which is about 1,000 miles south of the actual North Pole. Therefore, even though a compass always points north, it does not always point toward the true north.Full Answer >