Earth’s magnetic field is changing way faster than scientists ever thought it to be. This magnetic illusion keeps our atmosphere in place and also protects us from solar winds and various cosmic radiations.
From a few times, every million years, the field reverse, and the magnetic north pole and the south pole switch places. It last happened about 780,000 years ago, and the process lasted for about a thousand years. They shift yearly at a rate of one degree.
But now, this and a few other considered changes in the direction of the magnetic field are changing rapidly for about ten times faster than ever thought, which is about 100 times faster than previously observed.
Earth’s magnetic field is generated by the flow of molten metals which form the earth’s outer core. And now, the magnetic field is changing.
What researchers say
Dr. Chris Davies, associate professor at Leeds and Professor Catherine Constable from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, has combined two different observation methods: the computer simulation process and the reconstruction of a magnetic field model observations over the past 100,000 years.
“However, like all models derived from observations at Earth’s surface, it can only show us the field down to the top of the core; we cannot ‘see’ inside the core,” Davies says. “Therefore we combined these results with computer simulations of the physics of magnetic field generation,” emanating from the core’s movements.
Dr. Davies, from the School of Earth and Environment, said, “We have very incomplete knowledge of our magnetic field before 400 years ago.”
“Since these rapid changes represent some of the more extreme behavior of the liquid core they could give important information about the behavior of Earth’s deep interior.”
Professor Constable said, “Understanding whether computer simulations of the magnetic field accurately reflect the physical behavior of the geomagnetic field as inferred from geological records can be very challenging.
“But in this case, we have been able to show excellent agreement in both the rates of change and general location of the most extreme events across a range of computer simulations. Further study of the evolving dynamics in these simulations offers a useful strategy for documenting how such rapid changes occur and whether they are also found during times of stable magnetic polarity like what we are experiencing today.”
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