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Earth's Poles Could Be 'About To Flip'

Earth's Poles Could Be 'About To Flip'

A reversal happens every 200,000 to 300,000 years and we're overdue one, apparently

Claire Reid

Claire Reid

The Earth's magnetic poles could be about to flip for the first time in 786,000 years, it's been reported.

The Earth's magnetic field has reversed between north and south, on average, every 200,000 to 300,000 years - sometimes they can flip temporarily before reversing back again, as happened 40,000 years in the Laschamp event. However, as a full reversal hasn't happened in over 700,000 years, and some scientists think this means we're long overdue.

According to a report in Futurism, the flip could have some pretty heavy consequences for us on Earth. The report suggests that if the poles do reverse, radiation might reach the Earth's surface which would mess up satellites, causing havoc for communication technology, aviation, GPS and electrical grids.

Even more terrifying, according to a report by Alanna Mitchell in Undark the dangers are: "devastating streams of particles from the sun, galactic cosmic rays, and enhanced ultraviolet B rays from a radiation-damaged ozone layer, to name just a few of the invisible forces that could harm or kill living creatures." So, no biggie, then?

Currently, the Earth is showing some signs of shifting, leading some experts to believe that a full reversal could be on its way. Data from the European Space Agency's Swarm trio suggests a flip may be 'imminent', as observations suggest molten iron and nickel are draining from the core of the Earth, which is a 'restless activity' associated with such a flip.


A flip could mean that the planet is exposed to powerful solar winds which could blast through the ozone layer causing changes to the climate and animal and plant life.

But before you start stockpiling tins of beans and heading to your secret underground bunker - researchers from the University of Leeds have suggested it may be around 2,000 years before the flip happens.

And the fact that we are aware and can keep an eye on any potential switch means that we can be prepared.

Speaking in 2012, NASA stated that such a flip wouldn't necessarily lead to the end times anyway. It said: "The science shows that magnetic pole reversal is - in terms of geologic time scales - a common occurrence that happens gradually over millennia.


"While the conditions that cause polarity reversals are not entirely predictable - the north pole's movement could subtly change direction, for instance - there is nothing in the millions of years of geologic record to suggest that any of the doomsday scenarios connected to a pole reversal should be taken seriously."

Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: World News, Nasa