In a term of just 200 years, the magnetic field of Earth has shown a decline by 15 percent and is gradually declining further as each day passes. Scientists have been worried whether this rapid decline could be followed by a flip which could expose us to the devastating radiations from space.
These observations have been made by the scientists at the ESA (European Space Agency). At the estimated rate of decline, the magnetic flip might occur anytime soon in the upcoming 2000 years. As per the observations, our planet’s magnetic field is shifting with the rate of 5 percent. The polar magnetic shift isn’t a new phenomenon. The same has happened many times in the history of the existence of Earth. About 780,000 years prior today, Earth saw the last magnetic pole shift, and now another on could be one the way.
Normally, a shift in the magnetic poles occurs on Earth every 2 to 3 hundred thousand years as determined by ASA. This means a total reversal of the magnetic pole of the Earth is about to arrive. This swapping is a temporary phenomenon which returns to the original after a certain period. However, the consequences of this shift could be highly devastating.
The flipping of poles can cause significant climate change accompanied by a failure in the power grids. A flip in the magnetic pole also weakens the overall magnetic field covering the Earth. This could allow the entry of harmful solar winds along with electromagnetic radiations to the surface of Earth. Contrary to the popular belief, Earth has not two but four poles. The two being North and South Pole which are geographic poles. However, the other two emerge from the core of the Earth. These poles are termed as “geomagnetic poles.” The magnetic field produced by the core based poles extends about 63.7 Million meters outside into space.
As stated by ESA, a maximum section of this field is produced by the depths that extend more than 3000km. This is caused by the molten iron movement that takes place in the outer periphery of the core. Rest of the magnetic field is generated by the space-based electric current that surrounds the Earth. A small section of magnetic contribution also comes from the rocks found in the upper zone of the lithosphere. Upon inspection of the magnetic poles by the scientists, it was estimated that the gradual shift of poles caused significant damage to the satellites present above the location near South Atlantic which allowed the entry of particles that carried charge into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
A shift in the pole can eventually bring in major devastation by letting in the harmful solar radiation along with large-scale power failure leading to economic loss. The change would also affect the satellites orbiting the planet which could harm the means of communications.