Will We Witness a Polar Reversal?

The subject of paleomagnetism intrigued me this week; especially changes in polarities so I decided to research the phenomenon a little more. I wondered how often do the geographic poles change polarity, how fast is the process, and would there be a noted difference because of a polarity change. Due to time constants, I used the internet to look for the information. There seems to be several opinions in the Geo-science arena in regards to this very subject. New Scientist, an internet magazine/blog, had an article titled, “Second super-fast flip of Earth’s poles found.” This article states that the change in polarity generally happens every 300,000 years and that the process can take up to 5000 years to complete the polarity changes. Scott Bogue, a geologist at Occidental College in Los Angeles, however disagrees. He has found evidence that he feels may show that polarity changes can happen rather quickly. “In 1995 an ancient lava flow with an unusual magnetic pattern was discovered in Oregon. It suggested that the field at the time was moving by 6 degrees a day – at least 10,000 times faster than usual.” New Scientist Along with a colleague, a second example was found in Nevada that suggests a four- year rate of change. This new discovery is support for Bogue’s original theory and I found several new articles that have been published in the last 72 hours discussing this newsworthy event. Look out our Geology books will have to be rewritten soon. Nearly every article that I read led me to believe that we (Earth) are due for another polar change soon. Nearly no articles had any idea how this would affect life on Earth but most believed there would be no danger. One article suggested that there might be a problem for bird migration. I began to wonder if scientists believe the magnetic poles have anything to do with migration and if so, have there been any studies of bird migrations that might lead us to think that a polarity reversal was imminent. A new search revealed a National Geographic article posted in 2001 that spoke about birds’ migration directly linked to magnetic polarity. Birds equipped with GPS have begun to change their migratory patterns based on the shift in Earth’s magnetic fields. National Geographic as my search continued, I found the NASA website. There were several posts that caught my attention. A post dated April 5, 2010 revealed that the Sun has changed its magnetic polarity, which it actually does every eleven years. Could this have any bearing on the Earth’s magnetic fields? A post in 2003 written by Sten Odenwald explains that the magnetic field has, over the last 150 years, been losing magnetic strength at the rate of 5% every century. His study revealed that most geologists/geophysicists believe that once the magnetic strength reaches 10%; there will be a polar reversal. His study also revealed that fossil research shows that not much happens because of the polar reversal and life will not change much. [The Astronomy Café] After several hours of researching, I have found that no one has a clear answer on any of my questions. We could be alive to see the poles change or it could happen 2000 years from now. One thing is for sure, inquiring minds are studying to find the answer.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Will We Witness a Polar Reversal?

  1. Molly Warren says:

    My high school Brit Lit teacher was convinced that the poles were going to change, and that that was the big 2012/2013 catastrophe that everyone believes will end the world. However, her non-scientific conclusions said if we prepare ourselves now, we will be prepared for any radical changes in the Earth. She also said that the poles were unlikely to flip completely, but simply shift. She said that our location (in Delaware) would magnetically be somewhere in Northern New York. From my understanding, however, the axis isn’t going to shift, just the pull of magnetic field.

  2. cjklb says:

    i found your blog to be very interesting and informative, if the magnet poles do change quickly then we may experience the change in our lifetime.

  3. Pingback: Will We Witness a Polar Reversal? » Polar Reversal

  4. willdogg10 says:

    To witness a polar reversal or not: that is the question our generation ponders the most. The part of this article that I found most intriguing was the blip dealing with the pole reversals and their effect on bird migrations. To see that YES, the shifting of Earth’s magnetic field does impact birds and their plotted migration patterns is fascinating. Although humanity should not expect to be at risk for harm from a polar flip, it would still be incredible to be alive when this reversal occurs, so that we might experience a true wonder of science and understand the world in which we live in all of its complexity a little more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s