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Earth’s geomagnetic reversal happened 41 000 years ago, new study claims


41 000 years ago, a complete and rapid reversal of the geomagnetic field occurred. As a consequence, the Earth nearly completely lost its protection shield against hard cosmic rays, leading to a significantly increased radiation exposure, a new study led by Dr. Norbert Nowaczyk and Prof. Helge Arz claims.

A geomagnetic reversal is a change in the Earth's magnetic field such that the positions of magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged. The Earth's field has alternated between periods of normal polarity, in which the direction of the field was the same as the present direction, and reverse polarity, in which the field was the opposite. These periods are called chrons.

Magnetic studies of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences on sediment cores from the Black Sea show that during this period, during the last ice age, a compass at the Black Sea would have pointed to the south instead of north.

Moreover, data obtained by the research team formed around GFZ researchers Dr. Norbert Nowaczyk and Prof. Helge Arz, together with additional data from other studies in the North Atlantic, the South Pacific and Hawaii, prove that this polarity reversal was a global event. Their results are published in the latest issue of the scientific journal "Earth and Planetary Science Letters".

What is remarkable is the speed of the reversal: "The field geometry of reversed polarity, with field lines pointing into the opposite direction when compared to today's configuration, lasted for only about 440 years, and it was associated with a field strength that was only one quarter of today's field," explains Norbert Nowaczyk. "The actual polarity changes lasted only 250 years. In terms of geological time scales, that is very fast." During this period, the field was even weaker, with only 5% of today's field strength. As a consequence, the Earth nearly completely lost its protection shield against hard cosmic rays, leading to a significantly increased radiation exposure.

Abrupt climate changes and a super volcano

Besides giving evidence for a geomagnetic field reversal 41,000 years ago, the geoscientists from Potsdam discovered numerous abrupt climate changes during the last ice age in the analysed cores from the Black Sea, as it was already known from the Greenland ice cores. This ultimately allowed a high precision synchronisation of the two data records from the Black Sea and Greenland. The largest volcanic eruption on the Northern hemisphere in the past 100 000 years, namely the eruption of the super volcano 39 400 years ago in the area of today’s Phlegraean Fields near Naples, Italy, is also documented within the studied sediments from the Black Sea. The ashes of this eruption, during which about 350 cubic kilometers of rock and lava were ejected, were distributed over the entire eastern Mediterranean and up to central Russia.

These three extreme scenarios, a short and fast reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field, short-term climate variability of the last ice age and the volcanic eruption in Italy, have been investigated for the first time in a single geological archive and placed in precise chronological order.

(Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. "Ice age polarity reversal was global event: Extremely brief reversal of geomagnetic field, climate variability, and super volcano." ScienceDaily, 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 19 Oct. 2012.)

NASA claims geomagnetic reversals are the rule, not the exception

In November 2011, NASA published an interesting article claiming this kind of geomagnetic reversals occur as a rule, not an exception. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today's magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth's destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be 'no.'

The following is a part of above mentioned article:

2012: Magnetic pole reversal happens all the (geologic) time

Earth's polarity is not a constant. Unlike a classic bar magnet, or the decorative magnets on your refrigerator, the matter governing Earth's magnetic field moves around. Geophysicists are pretty sure that the reason Earth has a magnetic field is because its solid iron core is surrounded by a fluid ocean of hot, liquid metal. This process can also be modeled with supercomputers. Ours is, without hyperbole, a dynamic planet. The flow of liquid iron in Earth's core creates electric currents, which in turn create the magnetic field. So while parts of Earth's outer core are too deep for scientists to measure directly, we can infer movement in the core by observing changes in the magnetic field. The magnetic north pole has been creeping northward – by more than 600 miles (1,100 km) – since the early 19th century, when explorers first located it precisely. It is moving faster now, actually, as scientists estimate the pole is migrating northward about 40 miles per year, as opposed to about 10 miles per year in the early 20th century.

Another doomsday hypothesis about a geomagnetic flip plays up fears about incoming solar activity. This suggestion mistakenly assumes that a pole reversal would momentarily leave Earth without the magnetic field that protects us from solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun. But, while Earth's magnetic field can indeed weaken and strengthen over time, there is no indication that it has ever disappeared completely. A weaker field would certainly lead to a small increase in solar radiation on Earth – as well as a beautiful display of aurora at lower latitudes — but nothing deadly. Moreover, even with a weakened magnetic field, Earth's thick atmosphere also offers protection against the sun's incoming particles.

The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is – in terms of geologic time scales – a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia. While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable – the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance – there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the 2012 doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously. A reversal might, however, be good business for magnetic compass manufacturers. Read the rest here.

Sources: Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciencessciencedaily.comnasa.gov

About the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam: The Helmholtz Association is dedicated to pursuing the long-term research goals of state and society, and to maintaining and improving the livelihoods of the population. In order to do this, the Helmholtz Association carries out top-level research to identify and explore the major challenges facing society, science and the economy. Its work is divided into six strategic research fields: Energy; Earth and Environment; Health; Key Technologies; Structure of Matter; and Aeronautics, Space and Transport. The Helmholtz Association brings together 18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres. With some 32,698 employees and an annual budget of approximately €3.4 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Featured image: Schematic illustration of Earth's magnetic field. Credit/Copyright: Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh

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  1. i have a model for how earth magnetic field changed, why changed what happen if change i learned this from basic corrosion study, In iron change to iron oxide during rusting that time if you measure the magnetic strength it will will keep on change and polarity also changed based on that hypothetical i made a model and i would like to share my view if any one want pls call through my mail ID .

  2. Update:

    The magnetic pole has wandered roughly 36˚ from its original mark in Canada and has now drifted or wander into Siberia. If you perform the table top experiment provided in this post you’ll discover that when holding a small magnet between your index finger and thumb next to a compass as you gently turn the magnet to the right, the magnetic needle on a compass will flip every time at roughly the 40˚+ mark.

    If for some reason this post doesn’t fit with the aforementioned article it is because it’s a paste and clip from a ‘similar’ article posted on here weeks ago.

    The experiment still applies and I implore others to put it to the test.

    I believe there are several anomalies taken place to create “global warming” affecting our polar caps, man being at the bottom of that list.

    Magnetism plays a key role as we enter the galactic bar of our galaxy that causes our planet to work overtime and over compensate for the jet stream, bizarre weather patterns, plate tectonics, volcanism, electrical impulses and a host of other anomalies taking place with planet Earth.

    Let’s address magnetic fields and the role it plays in our lives and the healthiness of our planet by starting with an experiment that requires a magnet and a handheld compass. Now, we have all experimented with magnets as children and discovered two magnets of the same polarity +/+ harmoniously work together, take the same two magnets and flip one (+/-) and they repel one another . . . push/pull if you will. This example represents our Earth, Sun and galactic bar in our galaxy.

    Now, gather your compass (represents Earth or core) and the magnet (galactic bar) and make sure your compass is not near a computer or electronics that will throw the compass off. Bring the magnet close to the compass and turn the magnet at about 20˚ and watch the compass break at the 40˚- 45˚ mark every time. What does this mean?

    Essentially you have created a mini magnetic reversal with this experiment. Now, let’s look at the big picture of a magnetic reversal on Earth, Sun and the Galactic Bar. Our Sun is being degaussed or losing its magnetic field to (as it passes by) a bigger magnetic source, that being, the galactic bar in our galaxy, think about the experiment you performed with the compass and magnet, same concept. As the Sun degausses or its wandering poles, so do the poles on planet Earth and as it stands the magnetic poles are wandering towards Siberia at an alarming rate each month/year.

    This is one of the many reasons why we are being troubled with bizarre weather patterns, melting polar caps, extreme EQs, volcanism, magnetic field(s) disruptions affecting marine/mammal animals et al. Now, let’s look at 40˚- 45˚ experiment on the compass and compare it to the wandering poles on our planet (think Siberia and magnetic pole reversal) and where we are heading in the future.

    Magnetic pole reversals have happened on planet Earth and when they have, they’ve been devastating as they happened rapidly (think about the experiment with the compass and magnet you performed) causing crustal displacement, extreme weather changes, ocean displacement.

    We are currently in a magnetic reversal and to what degree˚ I don’t know, we just need to remove the blinds and see the bigger picture.

    1. I think you are on to something. I like the part that we humans are not entirely to blame for everything. I’ll say, they probably will try to tax us for the Magnetic shift though, those lousy law makers.

      Remember that Venus is losing spin time also. A lot of pressures going thru this little solar system. Our place called “Home”. Planet earth, third rock from the sun! Rocks!

    2. I agree it looks like we are in total pole shift ,It my happen very quickly or not ?look up net utube 2 north poles, we are in a reversal indeed.Rocks show this has happened many times in earths history.( the irons of the rocks pointing to south not north and vica versa.The lands of desert in middleeast i.e. they must have been covered by sea HELLO? .there must be a “magnet force ” that comes into our axis to encourage the core to be instable!I that maked the poles move ( elecromagnetic forces) i.e. is that the alleged nibiru ? I cant see a magnet reversal unless another force comes into the picture of your compass theory now can you can YOU?OMG Its some force outside the workings of the compass that is causing this to move.Aye what!hello Nasa? whats going on? I mean really

  3. If the creators of this Article shall have an interest in working with other people, then it would be very useful and smart, and listen to others who have completely different methods of solutions to similar problems.
    I think I’m on track to be, by my theory, resolve many phenomena that burden us in deciphering them.
    If you have the desire and let my conceit, that a stranger gives suggestions for solving many surrounding phenomena, accept cooperation. Here I am offering is to resolve problems, such as sunspot cycles, magnetic reconnection equality Sun, magnetic shifts polatiteta country and many other phenomena in the solar system.
    If this is not the answer, then that proves that you are arbitrary and do not respect other people who offer real solutions, and you still live in delusion and reinvent mathematical models, which will bring you all distract from the true causes of phenomena, whose causes do not.
    I got an e-mail address and contact for cooperation.

    1. I tell you what, when you have resolved a “Major Problem” let us know. If you don’t reply then this proves you are arbitrary and do not repect others as well. I got an e-mail address????? Do you know how many errors are even in your message? Here Is irony at it’s best folks.

      1. I can not determine who commented on my discussion above declared.
        Such a comment, for each criterion for this level of scientific knowledge, is below any criteria ..
        I offer cooperation with institutions dealing with upper problem, because I have a lot of good evidence, what are the main causes of almost all phenomena and are surprised that today’s science has not yet figured out.
        I offer only my opinion, and if someone thinks it silly and irrelevant, and some still live in the conviction that his evidence is correct and provable, some still living under the delusion that a hundred years.
        What are the errors in my statement, I would like to know.? Are these linguistic and scientific-technical answer, if you have data for it.

      2. Who are you to Boots so arbitrarily without any valid reasoning giving some nebulous statement about discussions like mine ?
        This is what I’m talking about is not a gift for those who would have the knowledge to monetize billions of dollars provided to confirm this .. That’s why I offer cooperation great and powerful companies and institutions that try to solve this.
        It is true that the magnetic field and magnetism in general have a great role in climate change, but we need to know about it, the real and true causes.
        That science has not been deciphered. I offer cooperation to those who are the authors of the above article and not you, who know only to mock someone who does not understand.

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