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By Meteorologist Randy Mann
Article published on February 27, 2021

Recently, it was reported that a team of researchers at the South Australian Museum determined that the Earth had a magnetic “reversal” of the north and south poles approximately 42,000 years ago. This was called the Laschamp event and may have lasted about 1,000 years. Their analysis was based upon radiocarbon analysis of tree rings from old fossilized kauri trees found in the northern New Zealand wetlands. Each ring on a tree shows an annual growth, and scientists are able to measure and date radiocarbon levels in the rings caused by the collapse of our planet’s magnetic field.

Although, scientists are unclear on what happened to life on Earth during that time, according to the study, there is evidence to suggest the magnetic reversal may have led to many dramatic changes in our environment, including an extinction of the Neanderthals.

Geologic history of our planet’s rocks does indicate that there has been a “swap” of magnetic north and south about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, but this new evidence suggests this one happened 42,000 years ago. And, magnetic north has been on the move.

The movement of the magnetic pole in the north has been increased its speed from less than 10 miles per year prior to the mid 1990s, to nearly 35 miles per year. In 2001, the magnetic north pole entered the Arctic Ocean and crossed the International Date Line into the Eastern Hemisphere last year and is now heading toward Siberia. According to Discover Magazine, computer models predict the pole will continue to move about 370 miles toward Siberia over the next 10 years. By the way, magnetic field at the South Pole has been mostly stable.

Our Earth’s geomagnetic field, also known simply as the planet’s magnetic field, is generated from the Earth’s core and protects us from the solar winds and deadly cosmic rays that would severely damage or destroy the ozone layer that shields our planet from ultraviolet radiation. Without the Earth’s magnetic field, there would likely be very little, if any, life on the planet as a large part of the atmosphere would be lost.

One of the big questions is what will happen to life on Earth when the next reversal occurs? Most scientists believe that life will go on without any issues. The only main concern would be a weakening of the magnetic field to allow in more harmful ultraviolet radiation. It may also be tough for animals, like pigeons and wales, who depend on the magnetic poles for their directions. But, most think the creatures will adapt over time. Although there are websites calling for doom with this scenario, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

Magnetic North