The reversal of the magnetic poles of the planet will almost completely deprive it of protection from charged particles of the solar wind and other forms of cosmic radiation, which will accelerate the evolution of animals and have an extremely negative impact on people’s lives. This is written by geologists who published their forecasts in the journal PNAS.
“The magnetic field of the Earth protects us from direct exposure to solar radiation for 3.5 billion years, on the other hand, powerful flares on the sun periodically pierce it and cause a lot of problems for electronics.The reversal of the poles will lead to even more serious consequences than the Carrington event, a super-flash of 1859, “explains Andrew Roberts of the National University of Australia in Canberra.
The position of the poles and that where the arrow of the compass points out is not a permanent property of our planet. Periodically, about once every 450,000 or a million years, the North and South poles of the planet change places, the traces of which scientists found in the structure of ancient clays and volcanic rocks. For example, about 40 thousand years ago, the “northern” half of the compass needle would point to the modern south pole, and the southern one to the north pole.
Two years ago, geologists from the University of Rochester (USA) made a surprising discovery – they managed to find an extremely unusual magnetic anomaly in the territory of South Africa off the Limpopo River, where the strength of the magnetic field fell sharply several times and fell to critically low values in the 13th-16th centuries of our era .
This was the first time that the Earth’s poles flips are not accidental, but at special points with anomalous properties, where the rocks of the mantle closely approach the surface and at the same time interfere with the normal circulation of matter in the core of the planet. Some scientists today suggest, referring to a noticeable decline in the strength of the magnetic shield of the Earth over the past three centuries, that this process has already begun in the recent past.
Roberts and his colleagues tried to estimate the scale of what awaits Earth in that case. To do this, they studied the effects of past magnetic axis reversals, “imprinted” in stalagmites and stalactites, which were formed in the Sanxing Cave in southern China for hundreds of thousands of years.
These outgrowths, as geologists explain, were interesting to them for two reasons. First, the age of the various layers inside them can be easily calculated, focusing on the fraction of the isotopes of thorium and uranium. Secondly, microscopic grains of iron salts, “stuck” inside their strata, reflect the direction in which the magnetic axis of the Earth was rotated at the time of their formation.
Studying their structure, the scientists found that approximately 98 thousand years ago a series of events occurred, very similar in scale to very sharp and strong pole-turns. The magnetic axis of the planet at that time somewhat changed its position, and the force of the field fell from a hundred percent to ten percent in about a hundred years.
In some cases, the axis simply shifted north, south, west or east by 30-40 degrees, but sometimes the poles of the Earth temporarily changed places for several centuries, moving at record high speeds.
Having discovered these pole shifts, geologists checked whether there are traces of this process in other stalactites and stalagmites that were formed at the same time in the caves of Spain and the United States. As it turned out, they had similar changes in the magnetization of the rocks. This proved that such coups of the Earth’s magnetic axis did indeed take place.
If stalactites do not lie, then, as Roberts notes, the “magnetic shield” of the planet almost completely disappeared during such shifts of the axis, due to which the Sun could freely bombard the Earth with charged particles.
Such cataclysms, scientists suppose, accelerated the evolution of animals and plants on the Earth, interfered with migrations of birds and other migratory animals, and today they would cause massive problems with the operation of power transmission lines and would destroy all the satellites in orbit. As scientists hope, mankind will have time to prepare for the next coup of the axis before it happens.