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Geomagnetic Field Probably Won't Flip Anytime Soon

Geomagnetic Field Probably Won't Flip Anytime Soon

A new study shows that the Earth's magnetic field won't be flipping soon.

Author: Trevor Quirk/Thursday, November 26, 2015/Categories: natural history, space science

According to a new study, researchers have corrected the ominous proclamations about the Earth's magnetic field. The upshot: the field won't be "flipping," as previously feared, anytime soon.

These results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Original concerns revolved around what would occur after the Earth's geomagnetic field temporarily dissipated, in the process of flipping its polarity, which it does on the order of millennia. The missing field would leave the Earth exposed to solar radiation; and the intensity of the field has been dropping for the past 200 years.

But thankfully this new research suggests that the geomagnetic field is not in danger of disappearing for a long while. The team of researchers determined the Earth's average field intensity over the last 5 million years. They then saw that today's intensity is about twice that of the average.

The study's lead author, Huapei Wang, said in a statement, "It makes a huge difference, knowing if today's field is a long-term average or is way above the long-term average[...]Now we know we are way above the unstable zone. Even if the [field intensity] is dropping, we still have a long buffer that we can comfortably rely on."

Image Credit: Huapei Wang; MIT News

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