Deep within the Earth, a fierce molten core is generating a magnetic field capable of defending our planet against devastating solar winds. The magnetosphere is a large area around the Earth produced by the planet's magnetic field.
By examining pottery from prehistory to modern times, scientists have discovered just how dramatically the field has changed in the last few centuries.Theya€™ve found that Eartha€™s magnetic field is in a permanent state of flux. Life has existed on the Earth for billions of years, during which there have been many reversals.
Earth’s magnetic field is our great protector, shielding us from dangerous incoming solar radiation that would otherwise make life on Earth almost impossible. Today, we can accurately trace the changes in the orientation and the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field in real time, but predicting when it will suddenly flip again is no easy task. This new study, led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), looked at the strength of the Earth’s magnetic field over the last 5 million years by examining volcanic rocks.
They found that the average field strength, as recorded in Galapagos Archipelago lava flows, was roughly 21.6 microteslas, representing the equatorial average.
As it turns out, this study is the first to measure the Earth’s ancient magnetic field strength from the equator: This provides a magnetic “snapshot” that previous studies have missed, according to Wang. The protective field extends thousands of miles into space and its magnetism affects everything from global communication to animal migration and weather patterns.
If a switch happens, we would be exposed to solar winds capable of punching holes into the ozone layer. In fact, a recent Danish study believes global warming is directly related to the magnetic field rather than CO2 emissions.The study claimed that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. Furthermore, the ozone holes would be larger and longer-lived,' said Dr Colin Forsyth from the Mullard Space Science Laboratory at UCL. But historic evidence of its decline has already been found in a surprising source a€“ ancient pottery.Scientists have discovered that ancient pots can act as a magnetic time capsule.


Magnetic north drifts around and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so a compass would point south instead of north.
Magnetic north drifts and every few hundred thousand years the polarity flips so a compass would point south instead of north. Astrophysical satellite are just switched off in this location, but from my perspective, this isna€™t much good if you want to study the Brazilian rainforest.a€™'The very highly charged particles can have a deleterious effect on the satellites and astronauts,' added Dr Mona Kessel, a Magnetosphere discipline scientist at Nasa. However, the strength of the field has changed through geological time, with the poles of the planet’s magnet switching dramatically at somewhat random intervals – roughly between 200,000 and 5 million years. The current rate of its degradation has led some scientists to think that it will bottom out in 2,000 years or so, leaving the planet hazardously unprotected against our Sun’s radiation. These ancient lava flows provide an ancient record of the planet’s field strength, locked in as they cooled below a particular temperature called the Curie point.
At the Antarctic, the average field strength was previously found to be 33.4 microteslas, representing the polar average.
In addition to this, Wang and his colleagues suggest that it was easy to incorrectly measure magnetic field strengths from volcanic rocks. The random nature of the Earth’s internal dynamo means that, according to the study, no one can be sure. But this magnetic field, so important to life on Earth, has weakened by 15 per cent over the last 200 years. The impact could be devastating for mankind, knocking out power grids, radically changing Eartha€™s climate and driving up rates of cancer.
The strength of the magnetic field also constantly changes and currently it is showing signs of significant weakening.The Earth magnetic field is mainly generated in the very hot molten core of the planet. If the magnetic field continues to decline, over billions of years, Earth could end up like Mars - a once oceanic world that has become a dry, barren planet incapable of supporting life.WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF A MAGNETIC FLIP? Scientists however, are quick to point out that while a magnetic flip could cause problems for mankind, the event wona€™t be a catastrophic.


Although the field strength has been dropping for the past two centuries, a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests it is not in danger of flipping any time soon. Whenever the magnetic field has reached a nadir in the geological past, it tends to flip soon afterwards.
The modern-day field strength of the planet, despite its recent diminishing, is roughly twice as powerful in both locations.
When pots form, the magnetite minerals align with the Eartha€™s magnetic field, just like compass needles. So although the field strength is still decreasing, it isn't decreasing to a "dangerous low" that will cause the poles to flip.
Magnetic reversal or flip is the process by which the North Pole is transformed into the South and vice versa, typically following a considerable reduction in the strength of the magnetic field. The much sought-after spectacle of an aurora would be visible every night all over the Earth as solar winds hit the atmosphere.
However, weakening of the magnetic field does not always result in a reversal.During a reversal, scientists expect to see more complicated field pattern at the Earth's surface, with perhaps more than one North and South Pole at any given time.
There remains, however, much work yet to be done in understanding the properties of the deep Earth. The overall strength of the field, anywhere on the Earth, may be no more than a tenth of its strength now. The Eartha€™s core is a hostile world where the crushing forces and temperatures, similar to that of the surface of the sun, take our scientific understanding and abilities to the limit.'This isn't some crazy theory that might happen,' said Professor Wild.



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