Earth’s magnetic north and south poles have flip-flopped many times in our planet’s history.
Last time was around 780,000 years ago. Based on new data, Earth’s magnetic reversal might happen earlier than anyone anticipated.
Geophysicists who study the magnetic field have long thought that the poles may be getting ready to switch again. Last June, the European Space Agency (ESA) presented the first results of its Swarm mission, a constellation of three small satellites launched in November 2013, which examines in detail the Earth’s magnetic field. The first measurement results showed that the magnetic field – what protects our planet from charged particles emitted by the Sun – was eroding quickly , losing 5% of its intensity in a decade (TEN TIMES FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY PREDICTED).
These findings have revived the assumption that we would not be far from a reversal of the magnetic poles. According to the head of Swarm, the Norwegian Rune Floberghagen: “Such a reversal is not instantaneous . It would take hundreds of years if not a few thousand years. ”
Now, three months later, Rune Floberghagen has to correct his statement. According to a new international study published in the November in Geophysical Journal International, Earth’s magnetic reversal can occur in less time than it takes a man to live and die.
The process of geomagnetic reversal is still a mystery to geophysicists and this makes it even more scary!