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Science News: Earth’s Geomagnetic Field Not in Danger of Reversing According to Scientists

Earth
(Photo : Flickr / Dreaming in the deep south / CC)

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) assured the people of Earth that the planet's geomagnetic field is not in danger of flipping out anytime soon.

Based on their calculations, Earth's geomagnetic field is still currently stable, RD Mag reported.

The study conducted by MIT researchers seem to be in response to a warning recently issued by NASA. According to the space agency, the level of intensity of Earth's geomagnetic field has been for the last 200 years. At this rate, the field could bottom out in 2,000 years, Inquisitr has learned.

Once this happens, the planet's north and south magnetic poles will reverse and will leave Earth vulnerable to the charged particles emitted by the sun. With a weakened magnetic field due to the reversal, the radiation from the sun's particles could affect electronic devices on Earth. This occurrence can also affect the natural navigation system used by animals that rely on the magnetic fields like a compass.

Aside from these effects, the cases of skin cancer might also increase because of the reversal of the geomagnetic field since the Earth's protective layer against direct radiation from the sun will disappear.

But, after backtracking and calculating the intensity of Earth's geomagnetic field for the past five million years, MIT researchers discovered that it is twice as stable that what was seen in the past.

This means it will take a very long time before Earth's magnetic field bottoms out.

"It makes a huge difference, knowing if today's field is a long-term average or is way above long-term average," the study's lead author Huapei Wang said in a press release. "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."

Wang also noted that even if the intensity of the field drops significantly, it could rise up again over time.

"What I can say is, if you keep a constant present-day decrease rate, it will take another 1,000 years for the field to drop to its long-term average," he explained. "From there, the field intensity may go up again."

"There's really no way to predict what will happen after that, given the random nature of the magnetohydrodynamic process of the geodynamo," Wang added.

The findings of the researchers about the current status of Earth's geomagnetic field were detailed in a report published on November 23 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tags Earth, Geomagnetic Field, Science, Study

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