The Sprat Issue 46 – Earth Changes More Magnetic In Nature
By James Donahue
Researchers are reporting in various science journals that something important has been
occurring deep in the bowels of the Earth in recent years and causing magnetic changes.
Nils Olsen, a geophysicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen co-authored
one report that states the magnetic field is weakening. The study published in Nature Geoscience, suggests that rapid changes
in the churning movement at the outer edge of the planet's liquid core may be triggering a reversal or flip of the Earth's
Scientists believe the Earth's magnetic field has reversed many times over the life
of the planet. The same process appears to be happening on all of the planets in our solar system and even within the sun.
But even if this is what is happening, researchers say there is nothing to be concerned
about. They believe the process normally takes thousands of years to complete.
One significant problem, however, is that the drop in the magnetic field is opening
the Earth's upper atmosphere to intense charged particle radiation. The particle bombardment affects radio and electronic
equipment, especially on aircraft and satellites.
Some scientists believe the reduction in magnetism has been going on for a very long
time. Also the NASA website offers a map that shows a gradual movement of the north magnetic pole over the past 150 years.
There also is a theory that the magnitism of a planet has an effect on the vigor of
the biological life. The Chinese, for example, used magnetic rocks for ancient forms of medical treatment.
Some researchers have theorized that the decline in the magnetic field may be linked
to the disappearance of gigantic life forms that once thrived on the planet. They say the magnatism of the Earth was about
80 percent stronger at the time of the dinosaurs than it is today.
If an impending pole reversal is emminent should we be worried about how it might affect
our world and possibly even our ability to survive it? Since the magnetic field has been dropping for thousands of years,
could the flip happen overnight, or within a few months, or years? And if so, what can we expect?
Should the magnetic field drop to zero gauss, even for a few weeks, drastic changes
would surely happen. Without its protective magnetic envelope, scientists say the atmosphere would expand and become so thin
we would struggle to get enough oxygen even at sea level. Cosmic rays would no longer be filtered and would kill most if not
all living creatures not hiding in caves or buildings. Birds and other migrating creatures would lose their compass bearings.
Electric devices like our satellites and the space station would be subject to damage.
NASA does not believe the shift will be that extreme and the magnetism will not drop
to that level. But the field will become disordered for a while and we might find that we have more than one north and south
pole on Earth. Pilots and ocean navigators may have a difficult time finding their way.
Geologists find evidence in the earth that the decline in the magnetic force has never
dropped below 20 percent of maximum. But the reversal process appears to be slow and somewhat disorderly, with the magnetic
poles drifting back and forth over the equator various times.
If we live to experience it, the flipping of the poles might make life much more dramatic
for everybody than anyone might ever imagine. Then again, maybe we have nothing to worry about at all.