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What horrors will YOU likely face after a cave-in of YOUR nationa€™s economy, war, geophysical upheaval, or whatever crisis is bad enough to disturb or stop YOUR nation from working and functioning? Watch a simulated reversal of Earth’s magnetic field, from the first signs of instability to the final, inevitable flip. When an electric current passes through a metal wire, a magnetic field forms around that wire. If you liked this story dona€™t forget to hit the RECOMMEND CONTRIBUTOR button at the top of the page so that I can bring you more stories like this.
Geomagnetic reversal, and check out Geomagnetic reversal on Wikipedia, Youtube, Google News, Google Books, and Twitter on Digplanet. Geomagnetic polarity during the last 5 million years (Pliocene and Quaternary, late Cenozoic Era). A geomagnetic reversal is a change in a planet's magnetic field such that the positions of magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged. In the early 20th century, geologists first noticed that some volcanic rocks were magnetized opposite to the direction of the local Earth's field.
Three decades later, when Earth's magnetic field was better understood, theories were advanced suggesting that the Earth's field might have reversed in the remote past. The next major advance in understanding reversals came when techniques for radiometric dating were developed in the 1950s.
During the 1950s and 1960s information about variations in the Earth's magnetic field was gathered largely by means of research vessels.
In 1963, Frederick Vine and Drummond Matthews provided a simple explanation by combining the seafloor spreading theory of Harry Hess with the known time scale of reversals: if new sea floor is magnetized in the direction of the field, then it will change its polarity when the field reverses. Beginning in 1966, Lamonta€“Doherty Geological Observatory scientists found that the magnetic profiles across the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge were symmetrical and matched the pattern in the north Atlantic's Reykjanes ridges. Past field reversals can be and have been recorded in the "frozen" ferromagnetic (or more accurately, ferrimagnetic) minerals of consolidated sedimentary deposits or cooled volcanic flows on land. The past record of geomagnetic reversals was first noticed by observing the magnetic stripe "anomalies" on the ocean floor. Because no existing unsubducted sea floor (or sea floor thrust onto continental plates) is more than about 180 million years (Ma) old, other methods are necessary for detecting older reversals. Because the magnetic field is global, similar patterns of magnetic variations at different sites may be used to correlate age in different locations. Through analysis of seafloor magnetic anomalies and dating of reversal sequences on land, paleomagnetists have been developing a Geomagnetic Polarity Time Scale (GPTS). Certain regions of ocean floor, older than 160 Ma, have low-amplitude magnetic anomalies that are hard to interpret.
Several studies have analyzed the statistical properties of reversals in the hope of learning something about their underlying mechanism.
Most statistical models of reversals have analyzed them in terms of a Poisson process or other kinds of renewal process.
NASA computer simulation using the model of Glatzmaier and Roberts.[29] The tubes represent magnetic field lines, blue when the field points towards the center and yellow when away. The magnetic field of the Earth, and of other planets that have magnetic fields, is generated by dynamo action in which convection of molten iron in the planetary core generates electric currents which in turn give rise to magnetic fields.[10] In simulations of planetary dynamos, reversals often emerge spontaneously from the underlying dynamics. In some simulations, this leads to an instability in which the magnetic field spontaneously flips over into the opposite orientation.
Shortly after the first geomagnetic polarity time scales were produced, scientists began exploring the possibility that reversals could be linked to extinctions.
Another hypothesis by McCormac and Evans assumes that the Earth's field would disappear entirely during reversals.[43] They argue that the atmosphere of Mars may have been eroded away by the solar wind because it had no magnetic field to protect it.
Tests of correlations between extinctions and reversals are difficult for a number of reasons. Gopalswamy and his team studied the Sun’s shifting magnetic field from microwave signatures obtained by Japanese radio telescopes and reported their findings in a paper in the Astrophysical Journal on April 9. To be clear, the magnetic field doesn’t just flip, but rather, the Sun essentially sheds its current magnetic field and regrows a new one every 11 years. The heliosphere is an enormous magnetic bubble made up of the continual regular ejection of charged particles from the Sun. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Using the Mayan Prophecy as an excuse to create new and explosive ways in which our planet may be destroyed, 20 12 2012 doomsayers use the geomagnetic shift theory as if it is set in stone. The Earths interior (University of Chicago)The reasons behind the reversal of the magnetic poles is poorly understood, but it is all down to the internal dynamics of Planet Earth.
This magnetic field passes through the core to the crust and pushes into space as the Earth’s magnetosphere, a protective bubble constantly being buffeted by the solar wind.
Usually this situation can last for aeons (a stable magnetic field threaded through the North and South Polar Regions), but occasionally, the magnetic field is known to reverse and alter in strength. Some 2012 theories suggest that the Earth’s geomagnetic reversal is connected to the natural 11-year solar cycle. A minority view (which, again is used by doomsayers to link geomagnetic reversal with Planet X) is that there may be some external influence that causes the reversal. The Earth’s magnetic field is measured to vary in field strength and it is a well known fact that the magnetic field strength is currently experiencing a downward trend. The positions of the magnetic poles are also known to be wondering over Arctic and Antarctic locations. Geomagnetic reversal is an engrossing area of geophysical research that will continue to occupy physicists and geologists for many years to come.
Satellites may malfunction and migrating birds may become confused, but to predict world collapse is a hard pill to swallow.
Simply because the magnetic field of the Earth is weakening does not mean it is near collapse.
The magnetic poles are not set in geographical locations, they move (at varying speeds) and have done ever since measurements began. There is no evidence to suggest external forcing of internal geomagnetic dynamics of the Earth. Because of the huge number of comments on this article, I’ve been forced to move them to another thread to stop them from crashing the article. UC BerkeleyThe a€?north polea€™ a€” that is, the direction of magnetic north a€” was reversed a million years ago.

The magnetic poles of the earth have switched back and forth many, many times during the 4.54 billion years that the Earth has been around. But new research shows that the reversal could actually happen much faster than that, with the magnetic North Pole migrating to the South Pole in a time span as short as a century.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley dated ancient lake sediments in Italy that recorded the last magnetic reversal, which occurred 786,000 years ago. Regardless of the speed at which it occurs, that next reversal might happen sooner than originally thought. Scientists haven't found any evidence that previous reversals caused any major damage to inhabitants of the earth.
SEE ALSO: Earth's Magnetic Field Is Weakening a€” Does That Mean The Poles Are Going To Flip? Likewise, a wire passing through a magnetic field creates an electric current within the wire.
Dark areas denote periods where the polarity matches today's polarity, light areas denote periods where that polarity is reversed. The Earth's field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite.
The first estimate of the timing of magnetic reversals was made by Motonori Matuyama in the 1920s; he observed that rocks with reversed fields were all of early Pleistocene age or older. Most paleomagnetic research in the late 1950s included an examination of the wandering of the poles and continental drift.
Allan Cox and Richard Doell, at the United States Geological Survey, wanted to know whether reversals occurred at regular intervals, and invited the geochronologist Brent Dalrymple to join their group.
But the complex routes of ocean cruises rendered the association of navigational data with magnetometer readings difficult.
Thus, sea floor spreading from a central ridge will produce magnetic stripes parallel to the ridge.[5] Canadian L. Most sedimentary rocks incorporate tiny amounts of iron rich minerals, whose orientation is influenced by the ambient magnetic field at the time at which they formed. In the past four decades much paleomagnetic data about seafloor ages (up to ~250 Ma) has been collected and is useful in estimating the age of geologic sections. The frequency of magnetic reversals steadily decreased prior to the period, reaching its low point (no reversals) during the period. They are found off the east coast of North America, the northwest coast of Africa, and the western Pacific. The discriminating power of statistical tests is limited by the small number of polarity intervals.
A Poisson process would have, on average, a constant reversal rate, so it is common to use a non-stationary Poisson process. Even if changes occur that quickly in the core, the mantle, which is a semiconductor, is thought to act as a low-pass filter, removing variations with periods less than a few months. For example, Gary Glatzmaier and collaborator Paul Roberts of UCLA ran a numerical model of the coupling between electromagnetism and fluid dynamics in the Earth's interior. This scenario is supported by observations of the solar magnetic field, which undergoes spontaneous reversals every 9a€“12 years. Muller, think that geomagnetic reversals are not spontaneous processes but rather are triggered by external events that directly disrupt the flow in the Earth's core. Most such proposals rest on the assumption that the Earth's magnetic field would be much weaker during reversals. Larger animals are too scarce in the fossil record for good statistics, so paleontologists have analyzed microfossil extinctions. Currently, the Northern portion of the Sun is further along on this process than its Southern counterpart.
Simply because scientists have said that it might happen within the next millennium appears to be proof enough that it will happen in four years time. Geomagnetic reversal is the change in the magnetic field of the Earth, where the magnetic north pole shifts to the South Polar Region and the south magnetic pole shifts to the North Polar Region.
As our planet spins, the molten iron in the core flows freely, forcing free electrons to flow with it.
We do know that this magnetic pole flip-flop has occurred many times in the last few million years, the last occurred 780,000 years ago according to ferromagnetic sediment. We are not due a magnetic flip as we cannot predict when the next one is going to occur, magnetic reversals occur at seemingly random points in history. This huge laboratory experiment is testament to the efforts being put into understanding how our Earth even generates a magnetic field, let alone why it randomly reverses. The new research paper, co-authored by geochronologist Brad Singer of the University of Wisconsin, suggests that the weaker magnetic field is critical to geomagnetic reversal. During times of strong dipolar field, these electrons pointed toward the magnetic North Pole. According to researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, if the magnetic field continued to decrease at the current trend, the dipolar field would effectively be zero in 500 years time. Take the magnetic north pole for example (pictured left); it has accelerated north over the Canadian plains from 10 km per year in the 20th Century to 40 km per year more recently.
Although the dynamics behind this event are not fully understood, there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting the claim that there could be a geomagnetic reversal around the time of December 21st, 2012. Starting about 789,000 years ago, the north pole wandered around Antarctica for three thousand years before flipping to the orientation we know today, with the pole somewhere in the Arctic.
Previous research suggested that the process of reversing the poles took place over a long time period, potentially over a few thousand years. Geophysicists have noticed that the earth's magnetic field has been weakening faster than expected lately, leading them to conclude that a full flip could happen sooner rather than later. Although it was discovered that some rocks would reverse their magnetic field while cooling, it became apparent that most magnetized volcanic rocks preserved traces of the Earth's magnetic field at the time the rocks had cooled. Morley, Frederick John Vine and Drummond Hoyle Matthews made the connection to seafloor spreading in the Morley-Vine-Matthews hypothesis[5][6] which soon led to the development of the theory of plate tectonics.
These rocks can preserve a record of the field if it is not later erased by chemical, physical or biological change. Not an independent dating method, it depends on "absolute" age dating methods like radioisotopic systems to derive numeric ages. They were once thought to represent a superchron called the Jurassic Quiet Zone, but magnetic anomalies are found on land during this period.

However, compared to a Poisson process, there is a reduced probability of reversal for tens of thousands of years after a reversal.
Proposals include impact events[33][34] or internal events such as the arrival of continental slabs carried down into the mantle by the action of plate tectonics at subduction zones or the initiation of new mantle plumes from the core-mantle boundary.[35] Supporters of this hypothesis hold that any of these events could lead to a large scale disruption of the dynamo, effectively turning off the geomagnetic field. Possibly the first such hypothesis was that high energy particles trapped in the Van Allen radiation belt could be liberated and bombard the Earth.[37][38] Detailed calculations confirm that, if the Earth's dipole field disappeared entirely (leaving the quadrupole and higher components), most of the atmosphere would become accessible to high energy particles, but would act as a barrier to them, and cosmic ray collisions would produce secondary radiation of beryllium-10 or chlorine-36. However, the evidence from paleointensity measurements is that the magnetic field does not disappear.
Once this process is complete, our compasses would point toward Antarctica, rather than northern Canada. This convective motion of charged particles sets up a magnetic field which bases its poles in the North and South Polar Regions (a dipole).
As the Earth spins, the molten iron inside churns and flows in a fairly stable manner for millennia. This theory is a poor attempt to link several doomsday scenarios with a common harbinger of doom (i.e. In addition to the North-South dipole, there is a weaker magnetic field spread around the planet, probably generated in the outer core of the Earth. Should the stronger dipole (north-south) field reduce below the magnetic field strength of this usually weaker, distributed field, a geomagnetic reversal is possible. By looking at an iron-rich mineral called magnetite in the lava, the researchers were able to deduce the direction of the magnetic field. During times of weak dipolar field, the electrons pointed to wherever the dominant field was, in this case the distributed magnetic field. However, it is more likely that the field strength will simply rebound and increase in strength as it has done over the last several thousand years, continuing with its natural fluctuations. It is thought that if the point of magnetic north continues this trend, it will exit North America and enter Siberia in a few decades time. It is unlikely that we’ll suffer any mass extinction event (after all, early man, homo erectus, lived through the last geomagnetic shift, apparently with ease). Luckily, according to this new research, that disruption should only last for one generation, not several.
In the Earth, the liquid metal that makes up the outer core passes through a magnetic field, which causes an electric current to flow within the liquid metal. Please keep it clean and do not use profanity or Obscene language otherwise I will have it removed. As they accumulated data, they continued to refine this scale in competition with Don Tarling and Ian McDougall at the Australian National University.
The relatively constant rate at which the sea floor spreads results in substrate "stripes" from which past magnetic field polarity can be inferred from data gathered from towing a magnetometer along the sea floor. It has become especially useful to metamorphic and igneous geologists where index fossils are seldom available.
The Jurassic Quiet Zone in ocean magnetic anomalies was once thought to represent a superchron, but is now attributed to other causes. This could be due to an inhibition in the underlying mechanism, or it could just mean that some shorter polarity intervals have been missed.[10] A random reversal pattern with inhibition can be represented by a gamma process. Because the magnetic field is stable in either the present North-South orientation or a reversed orientation, they propose that when the field recovers from such a disruption it spontaneously chooses one state or the other, such that half the recoveries become reversals. Polar shift is considered to be a less likely event that occurs a few times in the evolutionary timescale of the Solar System. As can be seen from the diagram (left), magnetic reversal has occurred fairly chaotically in the last 160 million years. For some reason during geomagnetic reversal, some instability causes an interruption to the steady generation of a global magnetic field, causing it to flip-flop between the poles. They think that when the weakened dipolar field drops below a certain threshold, the distributed field pulls the dipolar field off-axis, causing a geomagnetic shift.
Since becoming a science writer I have been drawn to the more extreme astrophysics concepts (like black hole dynamics), high energy physics (getting excited about the LHC!) and general space colonization efforts. The electric current, in turn, creates its own magnetic fielda€”one that is stronger than the field that created it in the first place. No fewer than 51 reversals occurred in a 12-million-year period, centering on 15 million years ago.
There is no correlation between the lengths of polarity intervals.[14] There is no preference for either normal or reversed polarity, and no statistical difference between the distributions of these polarities.
However, the proposed mechanism does not appear to work in a quantitative model, and the evidence from stratigraphy for a correlation between reversals and impact events is weak. There are a couple of examples of planets that have suffered a catastrophic polar shift, including Venus (which rotates in an opposite direction to all the other planets, therefore it was flipped upside down by some huge event, such as a planetary collision) and Uranus (which rotates on its side, having been knocked off-axis by an impact, or some gravitational effect caused by Jupiter and Saturn). The resulting magnetic field approximates a bar magnet, allowing the field to envelop our planet. There is no reason to think the strong magnetic field of the Earth can be influenced by any external force, let alone a non-existent planet (or was that a brown dwarf?). I am also heavily involved with the Mars Homestead project (run by the Mars Foundation), an international organization to advance our settlement concepts on Mars. As liquid metal passes through the stronger field, more current flows, which increases the field still further. Our planet’s spinning motion causes the moving liquid metal to spiral, in a way similar to how it affects weather systems on the surface. This lack of bias is also a robust prediction of dynamo theory.[10] Finally, as mentioned above, the rate of reversals changes over time.
Many authors (including the doomsayers themselves) often cite both geomagnetic reversal and polar shift as being one of the same thing.
These spiraling eddies allow separate magnetic fields to more or less align and combine forces. That reversal lasted only about 440 years with the actual change of polarity lasting around 250 years.
During this change the strength of the magnetic field weakened to 5% of its present strength.[2] Brief disruptions that do not result in reversal are called geomagnetic excursions.

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