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Alaska may lose northern lights

ANCHORAGE, Ala., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Scientists say Alaska may be losing its northern lights as the Earth's magnetic north pole drifts toward Siberia.

The cause lies in the Earth's molten core of nickel and iron, which acts like a giant bar magnet, Neal Brown, director of the Alaska Space Grant Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a retired geophysics professor told the Anchorage Daily News.

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If the pole is drifting -- and scientists say the magnetic pole drifts all the time -- the lights must drift along, the newspaper said.

There's no certainty, however, that the drift will continue toward Siberia, reverse itself or even move into a new direction altogether, said Jeffrey Love, leader of the USGS geomagnetism group.

Love told the newspaper a claim made by Oregon State University scientist Joseph Stoner last month that the pole was leaving North America for Siberia and Europe could not be positively evaluated.

"I personally would not want to predict what it's going to do in 50 years," he told the newspaper. "(Yet) if it continues to drift north, it's also true that the auroral zone will drift north with it."

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