The end of the world as we know it could come in any number of ways, depending on who you ask. Some people believe global cataclysm will occur when Earth’s magnetic poles reverse. When north goes south, they say, the continents will lurch in one direction or the other, triggering massive earthquakes, rapid climate change and species extinctions.
The geologic record shows that hundreds of pole reversals have occurred throughout Earth’s history; they happen when patches of iron atoms in Earth’s liquid outer core become reverse-aligned, like tiny magnets oriented in the opposite direction from those around them. When the reversed patches grow to the point that they dominate the rest of the core, Earth’s overall magnetic field flips. The last reversal happened 780,000 years ago during the Stone Age, and indeed there’s evidence to suggest the planet may be in the early stages of a pole reversal right now.
But should we really fear this event? What will actually happen when north-pointing compasses make a 180-degree turn toward Antarctica? Will the continents tear themselves apart, or are we in store for much more mundane changes?
Posts tagged magnetism.
The Sun’s rotation creates a spiral pattern in the solar magnetic field in interplanetary space, known as the Parker spiral. The drag produced by the spiraling magnetic field causes angular momentum to be transferred away from the Sun. This diagram shows the heliospheric current sheet that separates the regions of space where the magnetic field points toward or away from the Sun.
Humpback Whales May Be Migratory Astronomers
An eight-year project that tracked humpback whale migrations by satellite shows the huge mammals follow uncannily straight paths for weeks at a time.
The results suggest a single migratory mechanism isn’t responsible. Instead, humpbacks may use a combination of the sun’s position, Earth’s magnetism and even star maps to guide their 10,000-mile journeys.
“Humpback whales are going across some of most turbulent waters in the world, yet they keep going straight,” said environmental scientist Travis Horton of the University of Canterbury, whose team will publish their findings April 20 in Biology Letters. “They’re orienting with something outside of themselves, not something internal.”
Over the past several weeks there have been numerous reports of bird and fish die offs around the planet. The most likely cause for these die offs is the confirmed disruptions to the earth’s magnetic fields. It is widely believed by scientists that birds and fish use these magnetic fields as a navigational tool to migrate to warmer weather areas. In 2001, the National Geographic reported on a study that suggests birds actually use these fields to plan their migration routes. It is also widely believed that fish use these fields to find and detect prey.
This is what I believe is the cause.
Oh good. I heard that it was the end of the world. Nice to know we still have until next year.