2014-10-14. Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime.

posted Oct 15, 2014, 1:21 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Oct 17, 2014, 2:58 PM by Angela Miller ]
For GSS Energy Flow chapter 3. Excerpt: ...Earth’s magnetic field has flipped – though not overnight – many times throughout the planet’s history. Its dipole magnetic field, like that of a bar magnet, remains about the same intensity for thousands to millions of years, but for incompletely known reasons it occasionally weakens and, presumably over a few thousand years, reverses direction. ...Now, a new study by a team of scientists from Italy, France, Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates that the last magnetic reversal 786,000 years ago actually happened very quickly, in less than 100 years – roughly a human lifetime. ...Courtney Sprain... and Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a UC Berkeley professor-in- residence of earth and planetary science, are coauthors of the study, which will be published in the November issue of Geophysical Journal International and is now available online. [http://gji.oxfordjournals.org/content/199/2/1110] ...The discovery comes as new evidence indicates that the intensity of Earth’s magnetic field is decreasing 10 times faster than normal, leading some geophysicists to predict a reversal within a few thousand years. Though a magnetic reversal is a major planet-wide event driven by convection in Earth’s iron core, there are no documented catastrophes associated with past reversals, despite much searching in the geologic and biologic record. Today, however, such a reversal could potentially wreak havoc with our electrical grid, generating currents that might take it down. And since Earth’s magnetic field protects life from energetic particles from the sun and cosmic rays, both of which can cause genetic mutations, a weakening or temporary loss of the field before a permanent reversal could increase cancer rates.... By Robert Sanders, Media Relations UC BERKELEY. http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/10/14/earths-magnetic-field-could-flip-within-a-human-lifetime/ *.