If the Earth’s magnetic field reverses, scientists think they know where ground zero will be
04/04/2018 // Ethan Huff // Views

Many skeptics have been speculating over the past several years about Earth undergoing some major changes in the very near future – mainly with regards to the "flipping" of its magnetic field. And new research out of New York claims to have uncovered precisely where "ground zero" of this major event will take place.

According to John Tarduno, one of the co-authors of a new study on the subject, the reversal of Earth's magnetic field will begin underneath the continent of Africa, as an electromagnetic anomaly in the Southern Hemisphere points directly to this region. He and his colleagues claim to have discovered a waxing and waning of this anomaly, as the magnetic field throughout the region weakens, then strengthens, then weakens again, and so on.

Based on the movements taking place here, Tarduno and his team believe that a gradual reversal of the planet's magnetic field is already occurring, and that at some point the final switch will occur – which is the same conclusion that was recently made by scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder. They already say they've observed magnetic north making its way to the South Pole, and vice versa, a process that they believe last occurred many millennia ago.

"This may be the place that reversal started, at least reversals over the last millions of years," Tarduno, a researchers from the University of Rochester in New York, is quoted as saying by Space.com.

Earth's magnetic field is noticeably "weakening," researchers say

Deep inside the Earth are pools and pockets of magma and other churning hot "liquid" that generate our planet's magnetic field. Without this field, life as we know it would not exist, as the Earth would no longer have an invisible protective shield of magnetism to protect it against deadly radiation from the Sun and outer space.


And right now that magnetic field appears to be "weakening," experts say – especially in the South Atlantic region between South Africa and Chile – though nobody is entirely sure why. However, as scientists have begun to investigate the matter further, they've determined that changes are indeed taking place to the magnetic field that point to an ongoing and impending pole shift.

It's only been within the past 160 years or so that magnetic, and eventually satellite, observatories were developed with the capacity to ascertain more precisely how Earth's magnetic field functions. However, most of the research data collected from such technology comes from the Northern Hemisphere, with only about 10 percent coming from the south.

This is where Tarduno's research comes into play, having focused more specifically on changes taking place in the Southern Hemisphere. They say that ancient African rituals of burning clay huts and grain bins fixed magnetic minerals into the clay soil that has somehow affected the magnetic field of the area.

Excavations have revealed that the magnetic field underwent sudden directional shifts between A.D. 400 and 450, and again between A.D. 750 and 800. Between roughly A.D. 1225 and 1550, the magnetic field of the area noticeably weakened.

There have also been changes that occurred deep within the Earth's surface that were not brought about by humans, mainly in terms of the movement of all that hot liquid. It was a strange patch of magnetic field directly below Africa at the boundary between the core and the mantle that the research team ultimately concluded was the most prominent factor in the changes taking place above the surface.

"That patch may be largely responsible for the decreasing magnetic field," Tarduno says, noting that the mantle portion of the Earth underneath Southern Africa is especially unusual, being both hotter and denser than the surrounding mantle. "We think that is causing there to be changes in the flow of the iron [in the core] as it enters this region."

See more coverage of science news at Science.news.

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