Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

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Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:27 am

From Mother Nature Network

The magnetic pole is moving faster than at any time in human history, causing major problems for navigation and migratory wildlife.

The magnetic north pole is currently shifting at a faster rate than at any time in human history — almost 40 miles a year — and some experts believe that it may be the beginning of a complete pole reversal, according to the Independent.

The changes are beginning to cause major problems for aviation, navigation and migratory animals that use the Earth's magnetic field to orient themselves. Some airports have had to change the names of their runways to better correspond to their current direction relative to magnetic north.

Ever since the magnetic north pole was first discovered in 1831, geologists have been tracking its progress. Unlike true north (which is marked by the Earth's axis), magnetic north is constantly on the move due to changes in the planet's molten core, which contains iron. Throughout most of recorded history, the pole has been positioned at or around Canada's icy Ellesmere Island, but if it keeps moving at its current rate, it won't be long before it sits above Russia instead.

The thing that really makes the pole's current movement so unusual, however, is the speed that it is shifting. In the last decade alone, movement has increased by a third, throwing off compasses by roughly 1 degree every five years.

Changes that fast have already caused major headaches for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Tampa International Airport in Florida has just spent a month renaming all of its runways, which are named after the degree at which they point on a compass. Similar changes were recently made to runways at Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, and across the country runways now need to be renamed at least once every five years.

The shifting pole may also become a grave concern for migratory wildlife, such as birds, turtles and other sea creatures that use Earth's magnetic field to navigate over great distances. It's unclear if these animals are capable of recalibrating their navigational instincts to compensate for the changes.

The rapid shifting of the pole's position has prompted some experts to speculate that the Earth's entire magnetic field may be preparing to "flip," whereby all compasses invert and point south instead of north. It may sound radical, but in geological time, pole reversals are relatively common. Though they typically occur once every 400,000 years or so, it's been 780,000 years since the last flip.

Scientists disagree on how a pole reversal would effect ecosystems around the world. Some but some alarmists warn of a planet-altering catastrophe, whereby earthquakes and monumental tsunamis threaten the Earth for decades. Though such radical doomsday prophecies cannot be completely ruled out, the vast majority of scientists are tempered by calmer predictions.

"Reversals typically take about 10,000 years to happen," said Jeffrey Love of the U.S. Geological Survey. "And 10,000 years ago civilisation did not exist. These processes are slow, and therefore we don't have anything to worry about."
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Re: Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

Unread postby Azmodan Kijur » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:42 am

Sounds interesting. Might be due for a flip - like turning over a chicken breast in the fryer.

I want to note that there is no real point to that post other than making a chicken reference. ;)
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Re: Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:37 pm

Acknowledgement in itself is worth a post.
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. "Which road do I take?" she asked. "Where do you want to go?" was his response. "I don't know", Alice answered. "Then", said the cat, "It doesn't matter.”
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Re: Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

Unread postby HalloweenWeed » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:36 pm

I watched the Nova special about this years ago. Actually, you are leaving the part out about the Van Allen radiation belt being weakened, causing a great increase in solar radiation reaching the earth's crust, and thus causing significantly higher cancer rates and shorter lifespan. You see, the flip is not sudden, it actually becomes very weak for hundreds of years. The Van Allen radiation belt is (powered by) the magnetic field. Without it we are completely defenseless against some types of solar radiation, just as an astronaut in space is. I heard estimates of the human lifespan dropping to 40s or even less. If you add this problem to the global warming theory, it's pretty dismal.

BTW, they say that radiation would also cause many more women and men to become sterile after a couple of decades, reducing our reproduction, and perhaps somewhat limiting reproduction to the young.


Wow, it just struck me how much that mirrors past lifespans and reproduction - not counting global warming. In the dark ages the average lifespan was much shorter like that, and women were normally married with children by 16.
Last edited by HalloweenWeed on Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Magnetic north shifting by 40 miles a year, might signal pole reversal

Unread postby UnwantedSunbeam » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:11 am

I have a long running conspiracy theory that the world gets to a certain age and resets. Like stone carvings, all our text now is paper or digital. Soon we will have no hard copies of text. What happens in 5 generations when all work is digital and people have no possible fall back. Anyway seems to me that life is cyclic, it grows complex and is forced to simplify.

Seems that some members of the catholic church still think its the dark ages when it comes to choosing sexual partners, but that is a whole other conversation.
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