The internet has been full of information about the weakening of the Earth’s magnetic field and it all sounds pretty dangerous because this could mean the poles could reverse.
Researchers believe that this could lead to some drastic changes. There’ll be blackouts lasting for tens of years that will affect satellites and astronauts, the gaps in the ozone layer will continue to grow, smart phones and PCs will stop working and even our toilets might not work the way they should.
Three satellites collectively termed the Swarm, controlled by the European Space Agency have been keeping track of changes.
According to their calculations, the field has weakened, especially in the Western hemisphere. However, in places over the Indian Ocean, especially in the South, the field has become stronger. The magnetic North has also moved in the direction of Siberia.
A reversing of the poles has occurred before and we are able to study it by studying the ocean floor. When volcanoes become active, they create a new crust.
The iron present in the melting rocks works like a compass and aligns itself to the magnetic field. It retains this alignment even after the rock has become solid.
Scientists have learned that pole reversal occurs once in 200-000 to 300-000 years. It takes a long time and is not a very regular occurrence so we cannot tell when it will happen next. But the Earth is certainly heading towards it because the last reversal happened over 780,000 years ago.
Calculations show that it would have taken millennia for poles to reverse completely which means that the effect of the occurrence will not be as drastic. Humans have space to work on shielding themselves from the changes that will occur.
However, there is still cause to worry as the magnetic field protects us from the radiation coming from the sun. NASA has confirmed that pole reversal will not completely disappear but it will definitely become very weak before coming back to full strength when the reversal is over.
When we aren’t protected from solar and cosmic radiation, many will be affected by cancer. But NASA has also said that the atmosphere of the Earth should be able to protect us from the worst. Moreover, the last time the poles reversed, the landmasses on the planet did not shift and there were no calamities that rocked the whole world.
Just like it got through the last one, the planet will probably get through the next one as well.
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