Compasses help people find their way. The magnetic field makes the needle always point north.

Compasses help people find their way. The magnetic field makes the needle always point north.

The liquid outer core swirls around the solid inner core of the Earth. That generates the magnetic field.

The liquid outer core swirls around the solid inner core of the Earth. That generates the magnetic field.

The Earth’s magnetic field is strongest at the poles and weakest at the equator.

The Earth’s magnetic field is strongest at the poles and weakest at the equator.

The magnetic field helps create the Northern lights. It steers charged particles from the Sun to the poles. The particles collide and create the lights.

The magnetic field helps create the Northern lights. It steers charged particles from the Sun to the poles. The particles collide and create the lights.

A loggerhead sea turtle returns to the ocean after nesting. Scientists think that many animals like turtles, snails, and others can sense the magnetic field. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)

A loggerhead sea turtle returns to the ocean after nesting. Scientists think that many animals like turtles, snails, and others can sense the magnetic field. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources via AP)

The Ocean Compass

Posted: July 1, 2021

Journey to the center of the Earth and you’ll find molten iron and other metals swirling around the planet’s solid core. As liquid metal spins around solid, it conducts electricity. That electricity creates a magnetic field.

Sound complicated? Here’s a simpler breakdown. Most metals, like iron, are magnetic. Churning iron particles send out magnetic fields around them. They’re kind of like a forcefield that attracts or repels (pushes away) other metals. Earth’s “forcefield” is hundreds of miles wide. The Earth’s magnetic field originates in the Earth’s core, passes through Earth’s crust, and shoots out into space.

This magnetic field is massive. But it isn’t very strong. For its great size, Earth’s magnetic field seems relatively weak. Scientists have found that the magnetic field is strongest at Earth’s poles.

Sea water conducts electricity. The motion of the water across the Earth’s magnetic field creates energy. As this energy flows through the water, many marine animals sense it. Biologists are pretty sure that God made turtles and whales, snails, frogs, and even lobsters able to detect the magnetic field. Not only do they sense it—they use it!                    

Sharks orient themselves in the ocean like birds do in the sky. They use the magnetic field for assistance. These animals can feel differences in the magnetic field in different places. Re-routing! Re-routing! That’s how they know when to shift direction.

Earth’s magnetic field helps people find their way too—but with a compass. North. South. East. West. The flow of energy shifts the compass needle toward the north. Without the magnetic field, compasses wouldn’t work. For many marine animals, using Earth’s magnetic field is like swimming inside an ocean compass. They go with the flow—of energy! It guides them exactly where they need to go.

Psalm 48:14 tells us that God promises to lead His people. It says, “That this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”