In my quest to make liftstone make as much sense as possible with regards to how it functions, I'm considering the possibility that it might be a substance that is (1) naturally a strong magnet and (2) a substance that just so happens to be a naturally occurring monopole magnet. I know magnets are generally(at least it seems like it) stronger the larger they are, so it would make sense for liftstone to 'lift' more the more there is of it in any particular concentration of mass, but whether or not a magnet is affected enough by a planet's local magnetism for it to be noticeably pushed or pulled depending on the local polarity if there was indeed a monopole magnet present is something I'm asking myself if it's even possible. The basic magnetic strength of liftstone, if it was indeed a monopole magnet, I'm thinking should be, at least, of neodynium strength, but if it needs to be stronger to have a noticeable effect it's open to change.

Would a monopole magnet be pushed away from the ground if its polarity was the same as the local planet's hemisphere's pole it found itself in?


1 Answer 1


I think you have a wrong depiction in mind of how the magnetic field is configured.

You are probably picturing the magnetic field as purely radial, like the electric field produced by a single charge (see below)

enter image description here

However for a magnet, and for Earth in particular, it can be simplified with what you see in the picture

enter image description here

To a first approximation, the Earth's magnetic field resembles that of an enormous bar magnet. The field lines emerge from the southern half of the earth and re-enter in the northern half. Several features of the Earth's field vary in a predictable way across the surface of the globe and might, in principle, be used in assessing geographic position. For example, at each location on the Earth, the field lines intersect the Earth's surface at a specific angle of inclination.

On the diagram above, note that near the equator, the field lines are approximately parallel to the Earth's surface; the inclination angle in this region is said to be 0°. As one travels north from the equator, however, the field lines become progressively steeper. At the magnetic pole, the field lines are directed almost straight down into the Earth and the inclination is said to be 90°. Thus, inclination angle varies with latitude. As a consequence, an animal that has the ability to distinguish between magnetic inclination angles has a mechanism that it might be able to use to approximate its latitude. As we will discuss, hatchling loggerheads have been shown to have this ability.

A magnetic monopole would be repelled by the pole of the same sign, but on a planet like Earth that repulsion would go purely against gravity only at the very pole. At any other place, the repulsion force would have a lateral component, pushing it sideway.

  • $\begingroup$ Darn... this would relegate liftstone to just being a weird kind of compass in most places of the world $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Dec 2, 2021 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ What about if the ground had veins of this material like a mesh across the world but chunks of it above ground as well with both concentrations carrying the same polarity... would the underground concentrations push away/up the above ground masses? $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Dec 2, 2021 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ I suppose even if such a conveniently placed ore vein matrix weren't around a large floating mass could be attained at the south pole... $\endgroup$
    – Lemming
    Dec 2, 2021 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Note that in your diagram the lines of force do not come out of the Earth ONLY at the poles. They are still coming out/going in at the mid-latitudes. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2021 at 17:05

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