Earth's Magnetic Field Could Reverse Within a Lifetime

in science on (#2TK3)
story imageAround 800,000 years ago, magnetic north hovered over Antarctica and the geographic north pole was magnetic south. The poles have flipped several times throughout Earth's history. Scientists have estimated that a flip cycle starts with the magnetic field weakening over the span of a few thousand years, then the poles flip and the field springs back up to full strength again. However, a new study shows that the last time the Earth's poles flipped, it only took 100 years for the reversal to happen.

The Earth's magnetic field is in a weakening stage right now. Data collected this summer by a European Space Agency (ESA) satellite suggests the field is weakening 10 times faster than scientists originally thought. They predicted a flip could come within the next couple thousand years. It turns out that might be a very liberal estimate, scientists now say.

A weakening magnetic field could interrupt power grids and radio communication, and douse the planet in unusually high levels of radiation. While a pole flip could cause a few technical issues, there's no need to panic. Scientists have combed the geological timeline for any evidence of catastrophes that might be related to a magnetic flip; they haven't found any. No direct evidence of past catastrophes triggered by a magnetic flip.

Re: Planet X (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-23 02:52 (#2TM3)

Hadn't heard that one (Where's Robert Stack when you need him?). "Planet X" typically refers to Pluto and other dwarf-planets.

According to Wikipedia, the conspiracy theory involves the Earth PHYSICALLY flipping up-side-down, nothing to do with magnetic poles:

"(a physical pole shift, with the Earth's pole physically moving, rather than a geomagnetic reversal)"

Fortunately, this was predicted to happen in 2003, so those Zetas have quite the skill for causing cataclysms that nobody notices. I certainly didn't know I was upside-down.
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