Rotational Pole Shift
The earth's axis of rotation will not change position in 2012

What is a rotational pole shift?

A rotational pole shift, or geographic pole shift is a change in the axis of rotation of the earth.

Such a shift would take a huge amount of force on the Earth. On our page about Patrick Geryl we discuss the amount of energy required to move just the core of the earth. Here we are talking about moving the entire axis of rotation of the earth, which would require as much energy as it would take to bring earth to a stop, and then start her rotating in the opposite direction

Impossibly massive energy

We’re talking about a massive collision with another large body that has a different axis of rotation so that the combined angular momentum is different. This would be a planet killer, and would probably require an object the size of Mars or better. But, where is it? Where is this force going to come from? The non-existent Planet X / Nibiru? Again, where is it? In order for it to cause us a problem in under four years it should be visible to the naked eye by now! If such an object were to hit us, no ‘Nibiru Proof Shelter’ is going to protect you. The Earth’s surface would be completely melted for thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

What about a near miss?

Ah Ha! (the proponents exclaim), what if it doesn’t actually hit us, but misses us by just enough to tip the poles over? The problem with this idea is that the axis doesn’t stick out of the top of the planet waiting for a passing object to smack it over. There has to be a transfer of energy in order to shift the axis of rotation, and make no mistake, we’re talking about a lot of energy, and the claim for the ‘geographic pole shift’ is a significant tipping, 10, 15, maybe 20 degrees. Even if a large object were to pass close to us, it would not cause the Earth’s axis of rotation to change by the amount claimed.

The poles do change positions

Just as there is a kernel of truth in some of the other claims, there is a tiny bit of science buried under the rotational axis change claim. The earth’s axis does slowly change over time.

From Wikipedia’s page on Milankovich Cycles:

The eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth’s orbit vary in several patterns, resulting in 100,000-year ice age cycles of the Quaternary glaciation over the last few million years. The Earth’s axis completes one full cycle of precession approximately every 26,000 years. At the same time, the elliptical orbit rotates, more slowly, leading to a 21,000-year cycle between the seasons and the orbit. In addition, the angle between Earth’s rotational axis and the normal to the plane of its orbit moves from 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees and back again on a 41,000-year cycle. Currently, this angle is 23.44 degrees and is decreasing.1

There it is. A whopping 2.4 degrees over 41,000 years, and not the 15 or 20 degrees overnight that some have claimed.

Chandler Wobble

There is also the Chandler wobble, which we discuss in the Crustal Displacement page. However, this motion is tiny: on the order of a few meters.


There is no physical mechanism which would change the earth's axis of rotation which does not also involve an impact with a mars-sized planet, which isn't going to happen

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License