A new study explored the magnetic poles reversal events throughout our planet’s history and revealed that two rapid magnetic field shift phenomena occurred in the past. However, according to the research, if such a happening would happen in the close future, the Earth could end up exposed to more solar radiations.
The study, conducted by an international team made of Professor Andrew Roberts from The Australian National University (ANU), Professor Chuan-Chou Shen at the National Taiwan University, and lead author Dr. Yu-Min Chou of the Southern University of Science and Technology in China, discovered that the magnetic field reversal could take place much faster than previously considered.
According to Andrew Roberts from the ANU, a magnetic pole flip, during which the north pole becomes the south pole and the south pole becomes the north pole, would decrease the Earth’s geomagnetic protective shield by 90%, leaving our planet more exposed to solar radiations during the reversal.
Our planet can experience a rapid magnetic field shift, leaving the Earth exposed to more solar radiations
“Earth’s magnetic field, which has existed for at least 3.45 billion years, provides a shield from the direct impact of solar radiation. Even with Earth’s strong magnetic field today, we’re still susceptible to solar storms that can damage our electricity-based society. Hopefully, [a rapid magnetic field] is a long way in the future and we can develop future technologies to avoid huge damage, where possible, from such events,” said Professor Andrew Roberts.
According to the researchers, a rapid magnetic field shift that would expose the Earth to more solar radiations would be more damaging to our power grids than the most powerful solar storm ever recorded.
Professor Roberts and his colleague from the Research School of Earth Sciences, Dr. Xiang Zhao, studied, along with the other members of the international team of scientists, paleomagnetic record from 107,000 to 91,000 years ago, basing their research on radiometric and magnetic readings of a stalagmite located in a cave in Southeastern China.
“The record provides important insights into ancient magnetic field behavior, which has turned out to vary much more rapidly than previously thought,” concluded Professor Andrew Roberts.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.