Rapidly weakening magnetic field suggests upcoming magnetic reversal

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Rapidly weakening magnetic field
suggests upcoming magnetic reversal  

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30 Jun 08 – Earth’s magnetic field strength is weakening in several areas, says an article published today in National Geographic News.

This may suggest the possibility of an upcoming reversal of the geomagnetic field, said study co-author Nils Olsen, a geophysicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen.

"What is so surprising is that rapid, almost sudden, changes take place in the Earth's magnetic field," said study co-author Mioara Mandea, a scientist at the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam.
 
Fluctuations in the magnetic field have occurred in several far-flung regions of Earth, from the Australasian region to Southern Africa to the South Atlantic. “An oval-shaped area east of Brazil is significantly weaker than similar latitudes in other parts of the world, “Mandea said.

The earth's magnetic field has reversed hundreds of times over the past billion years, and, according to this report, the process “could take thousands of years to complete.” (However, other studies show that a reversal could occur in as little as a month.)

The decline in the magnetic field also is opening Earth's upper atmosphere to intense charged particle radiation.

"It is in this region that the shielding effect of the magnetic field is severely reduced, thus allowing high energy particles of the hard radiation belt to penetrate deep into the upper atmosphere to altitudes below a hundred kilometers (62 miles)," Mandea said.

The study, recently published in Nature Geoscience, documents just how rapidly the flow in Earth's core is changing, said Peter Olson, a geophysics professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who was not involved with the research.

See entire article by Kimberly Johnson
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/pf/76158139.html
Thanks to Gordon Douglass, Aitch S. Heer, and Nick at Walshsands  for this info

See also: "Magnetic Field Weakening in Stages, Old Ships' Logs Suggest," 11 May 06
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/magnetic-field-1_2.html

See also:
http://www.iceagenow.com/Magnetic_Reversal_Chart.htm
 

 



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