Scientists have discovered that the earth’s magnetic field could change ten times faster than previously assumed. According to reports, researchers used computer simulation to monitor the iron in the earth’s core and found out that it changed more quickly than we had realised.
The discovery could have major implications as the magnetic field not only helps in navigation but also protects humans from radiation coming from space and keeps the atmosphere in its position.
The magnetic field is created by a layer of molten iron flowing around the outer core of the earth. As the liquid metal moves, it creates an electric current that powers the magnetic field. Scientists have been able to track changes in the flowing iron, but they are facing difficulty in understanding the process as it happens over a relatively long period of time.
Magnetic fields changed directions
However, in their latest research, scientists used computer simulations to understand how the field could be generated by feeding it the data that showed the earth’s changing magnetic field over 10,000 years. Following this, they found that the magnetic field changed at speeds up to 10 times fasters than the fastest reported variation previously recorded.
As per the scientists, the fastest events happen when the magnetic field becomes weaker, which in turn happens at times when the field has “flipped” or reversed polarity, or when it has moved away from the north or south poles. They now hope to further examine such simulation to understand whether such dramatic flips or changes could happen at relatively stable times for the magnetic field.
Image credits: Wikipedia