The geomagnetic poles are antipodal points where the axis of a best-fitting dipole intersects the Earth's surface. This dipole is equivalent to a powerful bar magnet at the center of the Earth, and it is this theoretical dipole that comes closer than any other to accounting for the magnetic field observed at the Earth's surface. In contrast, the actual magnetic poles are not antipodal—that is, they do not lie on a line passing through the center of the Earth.
Owing to motion of fluid in the Earth's outer core, the geomagnetic poles are constantly moving. However, over thousands of years their direction averages to the Earth's rotation axis. On the order of once every half a million years, the poles reverse (north changes place with south).