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Thread: Earth's magnetic field is wandering, faster, for unknown reasons

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Earth's magnetic field is wandering, faster, for unknown reasons

    Wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the Geology folder.


    https://www.nature.com/articles/d415...&sf205680051=1

    Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why:
    Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.

    Alexandra Witze | Nature, NEWS · 09 January 2019

    Something strange is going on at the top of the world. Earth’s north magnetic pole has been skittering away from Canada and towards Siberia, driven by liquid iron sloshing within the planet’s core. The magnetic pole is moving so quickly that it has forced the world’s geomagnetism experts into a rare move.

    On 15 January, they are set to update the World Magnetic Model, which describes the planet’s magnetic field and underlies all modern navigation, from the systems that steer ships at sea to Google Maps on smartphones. The most recent version of the model came out in 2015 and was supposed to last until 2020 — but the magnetic field is changing so rapidly that researchers have to fix the model now. “The error is increasing all the time,” says Arnaud Chulliat, a geomagnetist at the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Centers for Environmental Information.

    Update, 9 January: The release of the World Magnetic Model has been postponed to 30 January due to the ongoing US government shutdown.
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    I wonder if the planet is preparing to reverse poles again.

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    I believe weakening is the key parameter to look for plus odd poles in funny places, but it's interesting that it wanders faster than before. Not many ships rely on it now, it's all GPS but with back up of course from the compass.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    I wonder if the planet is preparing to reverse poles again.
    I thought a pole reversal has been due for quite some time (of course, "quite some time" in the geological sense).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I thought a pole reversal has been due for quite some time (of course, "quite some time" in the geological sense).
    There have been numerous attempts to discern an underlying pattern to the reversals, but - despite claims to the contrary - these have yet to produce convincing results. We are due a reversal only in the sense that the time since the last reversal is greater than the average time between reversals. It is not, however, excessively long compared with other past intervals.

    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I believe weakening is the key parameter to look for plus odd poles in funny places, but it's interesting that it wanders faster than before.
    Excursions of this type are much more common than reversals, but - equally - they are also a feature of reversals. The good (?) news is that it increasingly seems as if reversals can occur more rapidly than previously thought: in a matter of several decades, rather than several centuries.

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    What Eclogite said. I guess you read about the recent study of stalactites (stalagmites?) in a cave in China? Evidence of a decades long pole reversal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    What Eclogite said. I guess you read about the recent study of stalactites (stalagmites?) in a cave in China? Evidence of a decades long pole reversal.
    https://phys.org/news/2018-08-stalag...-polarity.html

    There's the study.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    What Eclogite said. I guess you read about the recent study of stalactites (stalagmites?) in a cave in China? Evidence of a decades long pole reversal.
    Mites climb up and tights come down as any fule no!
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Mites climb up and tights come down as any fule no!
    I'm aware of the difference. I just don't remember which one was the subject of the study.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    I'm aware of the difference. I just don't remember which one was the subject of the study.
    Stalagmites.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Stalagmites.
    Thank you. It was a cool study. I had not thought about chemical deposition as a way of recording magnetic reversals. Other studies that determined the timing of reversals involved long term flood basalts, if I recall correctly.

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    Could a quick magnetic pole reversal have any affect on the Earth's rotational or translational speed?
    Last edited by wd40; Yesterday at 10:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Could a quick magnetic pole reversal have any affect on the Earth's rotational or translational speed?
    No.

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    I don't know why but xkcd has been spot on with recent cartoons for recent threads. Like this one: https://xkcd.com/2098/

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