Researchers are seeing for the first time, some hints that our planet’s magnetic field has been at it for a very long time – basically, scientists have uncovered south African clues to Earth’s pole reversals. Apparently, the changing magnetic field is not something as recent as we thought.
Previously to this new discovery, people thought that the magnetic pols of the Earth very slowly reversing due to a weakening of the magnetic field. But all their readings were limited to about 150 years, when modern magnetic measuring instruments became available. But this new finding throws research back 1,000 years. The records, that is, because the research itself is getting a great big push forward.
What has this got to do with southern Africa?
Everything, it seems. A tribe from the south of the continent apparently burned down their village every time there were times of drought. Behind the ritualistic aspects of this practice, and the practicality, which frankly eludes modern scientists, these habits that the Africans had in their Iron Age, from about 1,850 to 1,000 years in the past, left important clues for researchers of Earth’s magnetism today.
You may or may not know that at a specific spot above the Atlantic, if you say, use your phone, it may get fried. And that’s not the only thing going on. This spot is one of the weakest in Earth’s whole magnetic field. And it’s been growing for as long as we know.
Eventually, scientists know that it will lead to a magnetic pole reversal. Yes, this is the reversal you’ve been constantly hearing about. But fear not, it will not happen overnight. Research has uncovered that this change occurs over a period between 1,000 and 10,000 years. So no, don’t set your calendar.
This present study shows, John Tarduno, the lead author, says that magnetic pole reversals do not happen in random areas, but rather at fixed points of magnetic weakness that go back thousands of years. The minerals left behind by the burning of African villages provide rudimentary logs which are evidence to the fact that our magnetic field had the same week point even then.
Still, although they have happened before, magnetic pole reversals are not at all common. The last such event occurred 780,000 years ago. Yet this hole in the field is extremely dangerous because it not only does not stop all those nasty radiation waves and cosmic waves that bombard us every day, but it attracts them. To this extent, even satellites like Hubble have to stop all operations when above the field.
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