The Earth’s reorientation may be much faster than previously thought
The new research suggests that the Earth’s course may be moving much faster than previously thought. This is indicated by analyses of stalagmites from caves in China, which shed some more light on similar events in the history of our planet.
Earth’s magnetic field surrounded and protected our planet from charged solar wind particles, whichore constantly bombarding the Earth. This invisible shield extends for thousands of kilometersow from us, and the area thatory includes, we call the Earth’s magnetosphere.
The process of Earth’s polarization is a reversal ofoprice of the direction of the earth’s magnetic field. Swapping poThe north geomagnetic pole with the south one. Unfortunately, little is known about this phenomenon. That it was already occurring in Earth’s history was only found with certainty in the second half of the last century. Researchers believe that this is a random event and may follow at intervals of 10,000. up to several tens of millionsoin years. Until now, it was thought that the very process of changing the polarow lasts a long time – From 1,000 to as many as 10,000. years.
This change will almost certainly pose a problem for humanity. Previous studies suggest that the Earth’s polarization will reduce the protective power of the magnetic field by up to 90 percent., Making the Earth much more vulnerable to solar radiation.
According to a new study published in the journal „Proceedings of National Academy of Science”, partial or temporary shifts in the Earth’s magnetic poles may occur much sooner than previously thought. The research was led by Professor Chuan-Chou Shen of National Taiwan University.
The research was based on careful magnetic analysis and radiometric dating of stalagmiteow from a cave in southwest China. The analyses showed that at one time, about 98,000. years ago, our planet’s magnetic field suddenly changed polarity, and in just 100 years, which shatters all previous findings on the subject.
– The analysis provides us with important information about the behavior of the magnetic field in the ancient history of our planet, whichore reverseoIt was much faster than we thought – said Andrew Roberts of the Australian National University, wsporoutor of the publication. – Earth’s magnetic field has existed for at least 3.45 billion years and provides a shield from direct solar radiation. Even with Earth’s strong magnetic field, we are still susceptible to solar storms, ktore could damage our electricity-based society – added Roberts.
Researchers from Taiwan, China and Australia analyzed about 16,000. previously undocumented years of Earth’s magnetic history. They obtained the data by studying the ancient, ¿olty stalagmite, whichory wyroThe cave’s salt between 91,000 and 107,000. years ago. Dating and analyzing iron-containing minerals inside stalagmiteow, compositeo³ was able to detect periodic changes in the direction of the Earth’s magnetic field during the formation of these mineralsow. Magnetic minerals orient themselves in roof different directions depending on where the Earth’s magnetic poles are at any given time.
Roberts admitted that the change in magnetic field polarity is not enough to threaten life on Earth. After all, this process has already occurred in the history of the planet, and life is still going on. This does not mean that the change will not cause harmod. The most vulnerable technology.
Solar weather phenomena, such as solar flares and storms, occur when hot, charged particles of energy fired from the sun’s surface are on a collision course with Earth. Even when our planet’s magnetic field is functioning properly, a large enough solar storm can break through these defenses and wreak havoc on electrical devices.
Reverseoprice of the magnetic field could have truly disastrous consequences if a strong solar flare occurred at that time. It would have a far greater effect than the largest recorded solar storm, ktora hit the Earth in 1859. The field changes induced inoAt the time, electrical voltages in telegraph lines and even caused chemical-soaked reams of paper in the telegraph to catch fire. PoMore recent, slightly weaker storms in 1921 and 1960 zakłowhole reboundor television and radio broadcasts around the world. The last severe storm occurred in 1989 and damaged the power grid in the province of Quebeck, Canada, depriving some 6 millionoin the neighborhoods ofoin access to electricity. Even trading has been halted on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
A solar storm of similar magnitude today would cause severe damage to power grids and communications systems. The losses would amount to hundreds of billions ofow dollarow.
Sourceobackground: ANU, Live Science, fot. NASA / Marshall Space Flight Center